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Nonis: There’s been talk of making Jake Gardiner a forward

Jun 19, 2014, 1:05 AM EDT

Calgary Flames v Toronto Maple Leafs Getty Images

Jake Gardiner, a talented defenseman but polarizing at times for the Toronto Maple Leafs, sure endured his share of struggles last season. He was a healthy scratch and had to deal with almost constant trade speculation.

And his training camp didn’t leave a favorable impression of head coach Randy Carlyle, so nothing like slumping into the doghouse before the season even gets underway.

And here’s something: According to a conversation between Toronto’s general manager Dave Nonis and Toronto Sun reporter Steve Buffery, there was talk of converting Gardiner to forward.

“He was a forward, he started as a forward. He played more of his formative years as a forward,” said Nonis.

“There’s been some talk of it, but I think he gives us an element at the back end that would be hard to replace. He can skate the puck out, pretty good on the power play. So I think right now, we would keep him back there, but …”

  1. beergold - Jun 19, 2014 at 5:41 AM

    And there is also talk of making Phil Kessel a plus sided two way player rather than the career -41 that he currently is! Oh those Laffs always entertaining off the ice!

  2. lowenni - Jun 19, 2014 at 7:26 AM

    I wouldn’t.

  3. garybrian - Jun 19, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    Several years ago the Leafs took another defenceman and turned him into a centre. Guy named Red Kelly. Did a pretty good job too!

  4. hosewater2 - Jun 19, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Just trade him before you turn him into a reclamation project.

  5. kfraser91 - Jun 19, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Wings need to do this with Brendan Smith. He played a game or two at forward and looked great. Pretty much the only good plays he make are offensively anyways – his play in his own zone is mediocre at best.

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