Jake Gardiner has always been a polarizing player in Leaf land. He’s grown into one of my favourite players for a couple of reasons. The first, and most important, reason is that I believe he is the Leafs best defenceman and has been for some time now. The other thing I love about Gardiner is he’s just fantastic to watch. Every time he retrieves the puck I expect him to make a play, which he usually does. There’s the odd gaffe, as with any player, but he makes a lot of subtle plays which I don’t think most fans notice, a lot of highly skilled, highly creative plays which I end up replaying several times over. In an attempt to bridge the gap between how I feel about Gardiner’s game and how a “traditionalist” feels about his game, I’ve been saving a lot of clips of plays by Gardiner in which stand out to me, dating back to last season. I threw a bunch of them together a couple of weeks ago and I think it highlights some things Gardiner does which makes him so effective. I have more in the arsenal, but I’ll save them up for the second episode of “Jake Gardiner playing hockey is an art form.” Enjoy.
If the stream doesn’t work on this page, here is a link.