Gardiner picked up a pair of helpers -- one on the power play and the other shorthanded -- in Tuesday's 5-2 win against Florida. Gardiner has two multi-assist outings in his last five, pushing the blueliner to a new career-high 24 apples. The 25-year-old still sits at minus-10 on the season, which is an improvement from last year's minus-23 rating, but he's really not to blame with the Leafs struggling all year.
Gardiner grabbed a pair of assists in Monday's win over the Flames. He also skated 24:15 worth of ice time in the contest, marking the fifth straight game the blue liner has seen a significant increase from his season average (20:16) in that department. Gardiner's value is limited by the team he's on, but he's now just three points away from topping his career-best 31.
Gardiner scored the Leafs' only goal in Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Wild. He's been chipping in here and there, with three points in the last five games, but Gardiner remains a worse-than-mediocre fantasy producer for a Leafs team that doesn't generate much offensively and has goaltending issues. In some ways, he's a victim of his circumstances, but Gardiner also simply hasn't been as good over the last couple years as he was in his 10-goal, 31-point 2013-14.
Gardiner scored his second goal in as many games in Thursday's loss to Edmonton. Is it a coincidence these goals have come in the post-Dion Phaneuf era? We're not convinced, but we're watching that any way. The ice time Phaneuf played needs to get eaten up somewhere and so do the opportunities. The Leafs are a bad offensive club, but they play hard in a strong system. That could result in decent opportunities for Gardiner to step up and prove his mettle.
Gardiner has quietly impressed Leafs' coach Mike Babcock, reports Sportsnet.ca. "He's a real good two-pair guy, getting better each and every day," said Babcock. "More confidence. Goes back for the puck better. Stronger." Gardiner has 14 points in 42 games, but his plus-3 rating is a massive improvement from last season's minus-23. Still, he has one assist in his last eight games and is only delivering value in deep formats right now. We do think Gardiner's future remains solid, but he may not be the 40-point defender we all once imagined. But his coach's trust is huge, especially with his past criticisms.
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||79||7||22||29||-13||1||0||1||1||0||96.2|