Defenseman Jake Gardiner has had far from the free agency period he was hoping for.
Gardiner was supposed to be the top free agent defenseman available on the open market however one month after free agency he remains unsigned.
Lots of analysts believe there's big question marks regarding his health, others believe he's asking for too much money while others believe he's just very picky on where he wants to play next.
There was some chatter that he would return to Toronto on a cheap hometown discount, however after the Tyson Barrie and Cody Cedi acquisitions that is highly likely.
While it's not official yet, Michael Russo of The Athletic reports that Gardiner has a "handshake" deal in place for a long term contract, he's just waiting for that team to clear some cap space.
At the moment there's plenty of teams with some salary cap issues so it's hard to know exactly where this deal could be and Russo didn't give any hints.
Michael Russo also said on the Russo-Souhan show that Jake Gardiner has a somewhat long term handshake deal in place with a team that has to move out a high priced defenseman to make his cap hit fit. So if any team dumps a big money D, they're probably signing Gardiner.
— James (@Account4hockey) July 29, 2019