From all accounts it wasn't a decision that Jake Gardiner wanted to make but he was forced to.

Over the weekend Gardiner finally signed a contract however it wasn't with the Maple Leafs, instead Gardiner will head to the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Gardiner signed a four year deal with the Hurricanes which doesn't see him get the raise he was hoping for, instead stays at the exact same salary of $4.05million a year. 

The 29 year old defenseman has played his whole career in Toronto and ideally wanted to stay, he released a statement to Leafs' fans after signing with Carolina. 

"As I look towards the future at a new opportunity, I wanted to take a second and reflect on the past. 

To all the fans, the Toronto media, and the entire Toronto Maple Leafs organization, I want to say a sincere "thank you". The city of Toronto will always hold a special place in my heart. It's where I've spent the majority of my life for the last 8 years, it's where my son was born, it's a city where I've met many incredible people and forged friendships that will last a lifetime. 

Maple Leafs fans are some of the most passionate fans in all of professional sports, and it was truly an honor to wear the blue and white for the last 8 years. I'm excited at the next chapter of my life in North Carolina, and cannot wait to experience the great city of Raleigh and the opportunity to play for the Hurricanes."

All the best of luck in Carolina Jake!