Toronto Maple Leafs defensive prospect Jake Gardiner experienced quite the roller coaster last season, but it sounds like he’s lost much of the ground with what head coach Randy Carlyle views as a mediocre training camp.
When asked if Gardiner, 23, is where he was level of play wise during the 2013 playoffs, Carlyle simply told TSN’s Mark Masters “no, no he’s not.” He didn’t seem too optimistic about Gardiner “evolving” enough to regain ground, noting that there aren’t many days of camp left.
Could we see another saga like #FreeGardiner from 2013?
To review, the phenomenon grew large enough to force a response from Toronto Marlies coach Dallas Eakins in mid-March, but later that month Carlyle demanded improved defense from the blueliner. That seemed to happen during the playoffs, too, as Carlyle said that Gardiner “elevated his game.”
Perhaps the Leafs believe that he cannot maintain that level of play over the long haul?
Overall, it seems like it’s shaping up to be another interesting storyline to follow with the rarely boring Leafs.