Gardiner would look better in blue and gold

It’s no secret that the Sabres have been acquiring seemingly all the defensemen this offseason. With every move, it makes a Rasmus Ristolainen trade appear more and more likely.

But there is one unrestricted free agent out there who could be a steal for any team that signs him.

29-year-old Jake Gardiner is on the market and the Sabres should seriously consider signing him.

Gardiner was a 1st round (17th overall) selection by the Anaheim Ducks in 2008. However, he never played an NHL game for them. Instead, he’s spent eight seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, racking up 45 goals and 200 assists in 551 games.

Gardiner’s advanced metrics show that he has been a dependable defenseman both on offense on defense. Some Toronto fans might disagree after they were the ones watching him for so long, but the veteran still has proven to be a strong defender for the Leafs.

Buffalo would probably be looking for a short-term deal for Gardiner if they are interested. It’d be difficult to sign him to anything over 3-4 years, and I’m not certain they’d want to anyway.

Signing Gardiner would open the door wide open for Ristolainen to finally be traded.

Ristolainen does most of his damage on the power play, which is a great quality, but the Sabres have a bigger need on offense.

Gardiner would be a great replacement, and a potential upgrade, over Ristolainen. Getting him and trading Risto for a legitimate goal-scorer up front could help this team put an end to the near decade-long playoff drought.

Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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