According to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, Wisconsin Junior defenseman Jake Gardiner will be skipping his Senior season to sign a pro contract with Toronto. Russo’s tweet leads off with “according to sources” so I wouldn’t call it a 100% done deal yet, but Russo’s track record is pretty good and he is a trustworthy guy so I am going to believe his report.
Gardiner was somehow only a 2nd team all WCHA selection despite being the best all around defenseman who played a full league schedule. He had 10 goals and 41 points for the Badgers, and helped backstop a team that allowed 2.39 goals per game, 2nd in the WCHA.
Gardiner will probably start with the Marlies but I think he’ll be playing with the Leafs in no time as he is one of the more pro ready defensemen in the country and is both great as a puck mover and defensively.