Detroit Red Wings should have taken a chance on Jake Gardiner

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings should have chosen to claim defenseman Jake Gardiner off of waivers. The Carolina Hurricanes recently placed Gardiner on waivers, but he cleared yesterday and can now be placed on the taxi squad.

The move is similar to what the Detroit Red Wings did earlier this year with veteran defenseman Danny DeKeyser who was shuffled between the active roster and the taxi squad. However, DeKeyser is returning from an injury that cut his 2019-20 season short, and Gardiner is not.

While the constant roster shuffling is annoying and frankly has gotten old pretty quickly, the Red Wings definitely could have added some depth and possible trade bait in the form of Gardiner, though they opted not to.

Missing out on Gardiner is not that big of a deal, but the Red Wings could have got a nice benefit from adding the veteran defenseman. Frankly, my hope was that the Red Wings would have signed Gardiner when he was a free agent two offseason’s ago after his tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Detroit Red Wings should have taken a flier on defenseman Jake Gardiner.

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Now 30 years old, Gardiner is a ten-year veteran of the NHL, playing eight years in Toronto and the last two with the Hurricanes.

This season, Gardiner has logged 17 games played where he has no goals but seven assists and is a plus-two on the season.

While this may not be anything super special, it is half of what Filip Hronek currently has, and he leads the team in points with fourteen assists and no goals.

The Red Wings decision to pass on Gardiner is most likely due to salary cap and roster space concerns.

While yes, the Red Wings have more cap space than they could likely wish to have, claiming Gardiner would mean he would be in the organization for the next two seasons. He is currently on a four-year, $16.2 million contract that nets him $4.05 million each season.

But, the rebuttal I would usher in for that is, the Red Wings are going to pay Danny DeKeyser more than that; what is the issue with taking a gamble on Gardiner? The ideal hope is that Gardiner would be a better defender than some of the current defenders the team is trotting out there on a nightly basis.

There are a few names that have come across the waiver wire that have gone unclaimed that puzzle me; this one got me thinking a bit. It just seemed a bit questionable to not want to bring in Gardiner to be a second or third-pairing defenseman on this rebuilding Red Wings team.

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The Detroit Red Wings missed their chance on Jake Gardiner, and it leaves me questioning why they did not opt to claim him, but who knows, maybe there will be another chance.