2007-08: Gardiner completed an excellent career at Minnetonka High School, where he served as one of the team’s captains. He helped guide the Skippers to a Section 6AA Championship game appearance and a gold division Schwan Cup tournament title. Gardiner led Minnetonka with 48 points (20 goals, 28 assists), averaging 1.92 points per game. Gardiner was a finalist for the prestigious Mr. Hockey award. In the summer of 2007, Gardiner was a member of Team USA’s U-18 Select team that participated in the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament in theand .
2008-09: In his freshman season with the University of Wisconsin, Gardiner posted 3 goals and 21 assists in 39 games. He also posted a plus-4 rating and potted two goals on the man-advantage.
2009-10: In his sophomore season, Gardiner posted 6 goals, 7 assists and a plus-23 rating in 41 games. He also played for the US in the WJC where he posted 3 assists and a plus-9 rating in 7 games.
2010-11: Gardiner signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Maple Leafs in March 2011 and made his pro debut with the AHL Marlies following his junior season at the University of Wisconsin. Toronto acquired the rights to Gardiner along with Joffrey Lupul on February 9th in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks. Gardiner skated in ten games for the Marlies and was +4 with 3 assists and 4 PMs. He played in all 41 games for the WCHA’s seventh-place Badgers and was Wisconsin’s third leading scorer with 10 goals and 31 assists with a +22 plus/minus and 24 PMs. Gardiner was named to the WCHA and NCAA West Second All-Star teams.
Gardiner is a versatile offensive defenseman with size, quick feet and great hands. He was quickly able to adjust and adapt to playing on the blueline after having played much of his career as a forward. Gardiner has demonstrated remarkably sound and smart positional play in both the offensive and defensive zone. He utilizes his speed and hockey instincts to play the defensive position effectively although he’ll need to fine tune this area of his game for the pro level.
FutureGardiner made his debut in the AHL late last season, and is expected to continue to hone his skills with the Toronto Marlies for the 2011-12 season. He may compete for a full-time roster spot the following season.
Projection: Top-four, puck-moving defender with offensive upside.