Yeah, I see a lot of Leafers lapping this up as some kind of next generation moneypuck Kyle Dumbass thing.
"If he's a player you believe in..." stupid Leafers say, "... lock him up to a lower cap-hit while you can!"
Now, normally a team gives a guy in Gardiner's position a two-year bridge deal at... say... $2.5m per.
Then after those two years they still control the player and have a better idea of where he tops out.
IF he's awesome, you can lock him up (hopefully at a bit of a hometown discount) for 8 more years.
2 years + 8 years = 10 years
(age 23/24 to age 33/34)
The way the Leaves have done this, they have 5 years
of Gardiner, after which he is free to become a UFA.
Silly Leaves, 10 years > 5 years
if he's "a player you believe in".
Gardiner will play his last game for the Leaves under this contract at age 28.
Add to that the fact Gardiner has only played 167 NHL games to date
... and the fact he's a career defenseman who has yet to learn to play DEFENSE.
See, apparently he has a very low hockey IQ...
... which leads us to the other
possibility -> this contract becomes a bit of an albatross.
Yup, one way or another...
... a few years from now they'll be hanging Kyle Dumbass in effigy at the Centre of the Universe.
To be honest though, I'm worried about them having a lottery ticket in the McDavid Sweepstakes.