GM Brian Burke of the Anaheim Ducks has earned his off season weekends at the beach and that fat paycheck he is getting. Burke turned one Draft pick into three and still got a great future defenseman in Jake Gardiner.
Having already covered the stats side of Gardiner, I felt now might be a good time to show Bleacher Report his personal side, with some quotes from his meeting with the press last night.
“If you asked all 30 teams on the floor to describe Jake Gardiner in one word, they would say – speed,” said Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Burke. “He can fly. He’s a great skater. We think he’s going to develop and fill out and learn the game. We think his upside is terrific.”
Gardiner knows next season will be spent with development. Unlike some first round counterparts, Gardiner knows next season he will see no NHL ice time. Instead, he will wear red and white for the University of Wisconsin. Where he will continue to become the defenseman the Ducks will call on one day to keep the blue line and defend the net.
“I need to work on my defensive awareness and learn the position more,” he said. “I was a forward only a year ago. I just need time. But I think I’ll be ready to play in the NHL.”
The Ducks organization indicated to Gardiner that he would be the type of player they expect to step into Niedermayer’s shoes, since even if the veteran comes back this season; his possible retirement is on the horizon.
“It’s some pressure,” he said with a laugh. “But I think I can handle it.”
Just before leaving to celebrate in a suite with his family and Ducks execs and scouts, Gardiner was asked by a reporter what fans can expect of him. He didn’t hesitate to answer.
“I hate to lose,” he said. “And I love winning. I’m the most competitive guy on the ice. I’ll help the Anaheim Ducks win.”
For more information on the Ducks draft and other Ducks resources check out The Puck Drop: Your Source for Everything Anaheim Ducks.
Be sure to also check out this author's article on Day Two of the draft.
Source and Image: Brady, Adam. "Master Gardiner." Anaheim Ducks online 21 Jun 2008 21 Jun 2008