Jul 29, 2014, 6:04 PM EST
Toronto has capped off a flurry of recent deals with a big one.
On Tuesday, the Leafs signed RFA defenseman Jake Gardiner to a five-year, $20.25 million deal, according to Sportsnet. The deal comes after an impressive campaign in which Gardiner posted career highs in goals (10) and points (31), all while averaging over 21 minutes per night in his third season as a Maple Leaf.
The deal also represents a big financial reward for the 24-year-old.
Gardiner gets a significant pay bump and will earn $4.05M annually with his new contract, making him Toronto’s second highest-paid blueliner — behind captain Dion Phaneuf, who makes $7M per year — and one of just two Maple Leaf rearguards to be signed past 2018 (Phaneuf’s the other).
It’s also a pretty dramatic turn of events considering that, roughly 16 months ago, the #FreeJakeGardiner hashtag/meme was a thing. Remember? Gardiner was stuck with the AHL Marlies — he’d end up playing just 12 regular season games for the Leafs that year — when his agent decided to take his beef to Twitter, leading to Randy Carlyle offering the Randy Carlyl-est of responses:
“When we feel it’s time for Jake Gardiner to come back we’re going to make that decision, and we’re not going to be influenced by anybody other than the people that are doing the assessing.”
Gardiner proved his doubters wrong that postseason, though, scoring five points in six playoff games in Toronto’s opening-round loss to Boston. He’s been a regular fixture in the lineup ever since, and now looks to be one of the cornerstones for the future.
Though there is this wrinkle to consider…
Jake Gardiner’s #leafs extension doesn’t include any no-movement protection, Sportsnet has learned. Great deal for both sides.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 29, 2014
As mentioned above, the deal caps off what’s been a busy period in Toronto. The Leafs have come to terms with a pair of their own free agents — Cody Franson and James Reimer — and inked veteran forwards David Booth and Daniel Winnik to one-year pacts.
Dec 22, 2014, 8:30 PM EST
He collapsed on Vancouver’s bench this past weekend in a scary scene.
Dec 22, 2014, 7:45 PM EST
Probably for the best.
Dec 22, 2014, 6:50 PM EST
Pittsburgh’s dressing seven defensemen against Florida.
Dec 22, 2014, 5:29 PM EST
Click for a surprising stat about the 31-year-old forward.
Dec 22, 2014, 5:01 PM EST
Weather forecast looking good, too.
Dec 22, 2014, 4:50 PM EST
News and notes from around the blue paint…
Dec 22, 2014, 3:46 PM EST
As the quote suggests, he’s feeling better.
Dec 22, 2014, 3:31 PM EST
“He’s 21 years old. I think we’re getting a lot out of a 21 year-old defenseman right now.”
Dec 22, 2014, 3:20 PM EST
Signs with HC Slovan Bratislava.
Dec 22, 2014, 2:14 PM EST
Have won eight straight at home, but must travel to Anaheim tonight.
Dec 22, 2014, 1:15 PM EST
“Is it true? I don’t know.”
Dec 22, 2014, 12:52 PM EST
After teammates Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson both had them.
Dec 22, 2014, 12:40 PM EST
Oh no, not this again.
Dec 22, 2014, 12:28 PM EST
Will GM Chuck Fletcher do anything about it?
Dec 22, 2014, 12:12 PM EST
Kings’ center broke out of his slump in a major way.
Dec 22, 2014, 12:06 PM EST
“I talked with Dallas and they think it’s a good experience for me to play for my country and play for the national team.”
Dec 22, 2014, 11:36 AM EST
Connor McDavid and Sam Reinhart will be the alternates.
Dec 22, 2014, 11:33 AM EST
Lots of pressure on the Bruins and Leafs.
Dec 22, 2014, 11:28 AM EST
Will Willie Mitchell and Kris Letang square off again tonight in Florida?
- Daly: Fehr’s lockout prediction ‘naive and uneducated’ 20
- Pens send Downie, Sutter, Greiss home for mumps test (Updated) 13
- The Atlantic Division race is going to be fascinating 19
- Flyers rally as Zepp wins his career debut at 33 years old 22
- Oilers squander three-goal lead, lose 18th time in 19 games 11
- Pickard makes one last bid to stay, beats Wings in nine-round SO 6
- Video: Bartkowski delivers controversial hit to Gionta, fights Foligno 42
- Giroux line takes Leafs ‘to school’ in Flyers’ 7-4 victory 17
- Wolverine Pacioretty gets two assists just two days after being hospitalized 18
- Ovechkin scores beauty as Caps shutout Devils 9