Jake Gardiner on the Montreal Canadiens? It could have happened.
Marc Bergevin, General Manager of the Habs confirmed that the club made an offer to Gardiner, but the UFA preferred a trip south of the border and signed with the Carolina Hurricanes instead.
#Habs: Marc Bergevin confirme qu'il avait fait une offre à Jake Gardiner. Mais il a préféré les Hurricanes.— J-F Chaumont (@JFChaumontJDM) September 9, 2019
Gardiner signed the four-year, $16.2 million contract with Carolina last week as an unrestricted free agent after eight-years with the Maple Leafs. Maybe lacing up for an arch rival deterred Gardiner from the move across province lines.
The 29-year-old defenseman could have been an upgrade for Montreal’s blueline, especially as a quarterback on their struggling power-play.
With uncertainty over his back injury, it’s possible Montreal wasn’t able to offer as long a term as Carolina with four years of security. The Habs sit at just over $4-million in cap space so the offer might have been in that dollar-range.
Either way, Gardiner gets a fresh start away and a role as a top-four defender in Carolina, a change he is very excited about.