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.
Then there's the Franson Factor...
After Franson's bridge deal expired, Leaves told Franson he had to prove himself before getting the big bucks.
So he finally, reluctantly, signed a one-year contract (for the shortened 2012-13 season).
Cody had a fantastic season, followed by an even better post-season.
Did the Leaves reward him with a long-term contract as promised?
They told him he still hadn't proven himself yet and that he wasn't using his size enough.
So another one-year "prove yourself" contract for Cody (last season).
Cody goes out and leads the league in hits
while having to babysit Gardiner/Rielly (overall play declined).
Leaves still don't want to give him term + dollars and only at the point of a gun (impending arbitration)
.... do they sign him to yet-another one-year term ($3.3m for this upcoming season).
But NOW they have no problem throwing Gardiner term + money coming off his entry-level deal!
Mixed messages and personally I think Franson is the more valuable defenseman.
So now they will be losing Franson and overpaying (at least
in the short term) Gardiner.
Coach Carlyle has made it clear he prefers Franson to Gardiner, but management sees it differently.
Can you say "dysfunctional"?
There has been a lot of talk by hockey pundits of how much Gardiner and Carlyle hate each other.
And at the end of last season Leaf-insiders Dreger and Kypreos said one would have to go this off-season.
So... Franson hates management, Gardiner hates the coach, and Reimer hates everybody!
Strange, strange, organization.
Strong rumours this summer about the Leaves trying to trade all of these guys but not unless they get full value.
Not gonna happen.
On one hand they'll begrudgingly hang onto malcontents, but on the other hand they prefer Kessel Klubbers.
If you're friends with Kessel they'll overpay you (Bozo, Phaneuf, Clarkson, Frattin, Gardiner, Komarov)
(and I think the only reason they brought Kontiola on board is because he's best pals with Komarov).
In closing, I can only say Mr Kadri better start making the right friends in the room if he wants the big bucks.
And Carlyle can say buh-bye pretty quick if he doesn't dump Franson for Gardiner in a hurry.
As The Stomach Turns.