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Is Jake Gardiner available?

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Toronto Maple Leafs v St Louis Blues Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Sportsnet is reporting that Jake Gardiner might be traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs. If he is, the Winnipeg Jets should be on him if he is available mainly because he is a good defenceman.

The Jets are in desperate need for defencemen even if Josh Morrissey is not out long-term. The Jets have struggled for the entire season to find the correct partner for Dustin Byfuglien, who is also out week to week with an injury of some type.

Gardiner shoots left and while he is not the steadiest defenceman in the NHL, he would be an upgrade on Ben Chiarot who has been Byfuglien’s current partner. The move would also allow the Jets to run a defence with Sami Niku right now and send him down to the Manitoba Moose for the AHL playoffs if they make it.

The Jets have already traded for a forward and now it is time for the Jets to focus on acquiring help on defence. If Gardiner is not on the market, he would still be a reasonable target during free agency as the Jets still need to look at helping their defence in the long term come this offseason. Either way, if Gardiner is available from the Leafs, the Jets should be calling them.