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Jake Gardiner's back issues possible determining factor in his NHL future

Jake Gardiner. - Claus Andersen
Jake Gardiner. - Claus Andersen/Postmedia News Service

Teams that consider signing Jake Gardiner this summer could think long and hard about the 28-year-old’s back issues before offering a contract.

Gardiner, who missed 18 games with a back injury before returning to the Maple Leafs lineup in the penultimate game of the regular season, gutted it out against the Boston Bruins despite not being in full health.

Gardiner has had back troubles in the past.

“He’s not mobile, it’s unfortunate, but he tried to give us what he could and tried to help us,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said after the loss in Game 7.

“Any time you’re playing a guy that’s not 100%, you think he’s better than the guys that are available that are 100%. He did what he could and, in the end, it wasn’t enough to help us through this series. In saying that, no fault on his part.”

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