Jake Gardiner, a Minnesota native, was drafted 17th overall by Anaheim in 2008 and traded to Toronto last February. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
When the Toronto Maple Leafs sent defenseman Francois Beauchemin to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for left winger Joffrey Lupul, prospect Jake Gardiner and a conditional fourth round pick in the 2013 draft, fans and pundits alike commended GM Brian Burke for moving an aging blueliner and acquiring a reliable winger.
But the more Gardiner develops, the more it looks like Burke didn’t just win the trade, he hit a homerun. While Gardiner isn’t likely to win the Calder Trophy this season he has shown promise and has a legitimate shot at cracking the Leafs lineup.
THN’s Ryan Kennedy caught up with the 21-year-old Minnesota native at the NHLPA Rookie Showcase in Toronto to discuss the trade that brought him to the city, going the college route, making the jump from the NCAA to the American League and much more.
REPORTER: Ryan Kennedy | PRODUCER: Ted Cooper