Jake Gardiner Signs Contract With Carolina Hurricanes

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 21: Jake Gardiner #51 of the Toronto Maple Leafs warms up prior to action against the Boston Bruins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on April 21, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The Carolina Hurricanes have confirmed that free agent defenceman Jake Gardiner has signed a four-year contract worth $16 million, or $4.05 million per season. This contract carries him through the 2022-23 season.

Jake Gardiner Signs With the Carolina Hurricanes

Over his eight-year NHL career, Gardiner has played exclusively for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has put up 45 goals and 200 assists for 245 career points in 551 career games. He was originally drafted in the 1st round, 17th overall of the 2008 NHL draft by the Anaheim Ducks.

Last season he scored three goals and 27 assists for 30 points. He also added 26 minutes in penalties. His possession numbers were 52.2 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of 1.9%.

What This Means for the Future

Gardiner is an offensive defenceman, first and foremost. This team is getting a dynamic scoring asset on their back end. He’s well-sized and still has good skating ability. Gardiner likes to be aggressive and looks to create a scoring play from the back end every chance he has.

But while Toronto media may be known for being overwhelmingly critical, their criticisms of him have some foundation. His egregious defensive mistakes are not a figment of your imagination by any stretch. He tends to be a methodical player, so he can get distracted trying to make the perfect play and end up contributing to a goal against. When he’s on his game, he’s attentive and focused. The moment he loses that focus, he becomes a liability. The goal for this team is to get him to that constantly-focused level.

Gardiner is in his prime right now at age 28 and should be at his production level for at least three or four more years. With Gardiner, you should be expecting anywhere from 35-50 points, an impactful offensive boost from the defence corps. However, he dealt with injury issues this season, ones that hopefully don’t flame up and make this deal look like a bust.
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