Apr 10, 2013, 4:59 PM EST
Jake Gardiner has gone from being one of Toronto’s most important defensemen to one of its least-used ones.
And he doesn’t really know how it happened.
“I’m not sure what’s going on,” Gardiner Told the Toronto Star. “I feel like I can definitely contribute. I’m going to do whatever the team needs to win.
“I’m just going to try to contribute any way I can.”
The 22-year-old blueliner has appeared in just eight games for the Leafs this season, failing to score a goal while registering just two assists.
It appears he doesn’t have the trust of head coach Randy Carlyle, who has repeatedly made Gardiner a healthy scratch lately.
(As diagrammed in my impressive Gardiner chart):
Mar. 26, 3-2 win over Florida: 21:09 TOI, one shot, minus-1
Mar. 28, 6-3 win over Carolina: Healthy scratch
Mar. 30, 4-0 win over Ottawa: Healthy scratch
Apr. 4, 5-3 loss to Philly: Healthy scratch
Apr. 6, 2-1 win over New Jersey: 16:27 TOI, plus-1
Apr. 8, 4-3 win over New York Rangers: Healthy scratch
Do keep in mind this is the same Gardiner who, as a 21-year-old rookie last season, played 75 games, finished second among all Leafs defensemen in scoring (30 points) and averaged 21:35 a night.
This season, he was derailed by a concussion suffered while playing for the AHL Marlies in December. But he says he’s at full health and ready to contribute — the latter of which Carlyle doesn’t agree with.
“He’s a young player and I’m not going to put him in situations he can’t survive,” Carlyle explained. “That to me is the most important thing with our young players.”
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- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 115
- Lecavalier out 3-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in back 8
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 14
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 89
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) 87
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 69
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 47
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 78
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (180)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (134)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (127)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (115)
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller (97)