Jake Gardiner appears to be appreciating his new home outside the Toronto fishbowl.
The Carolina Hurricanes defenseman, who joined the team this summer following eight seasons with the Maple Leafs, recently expressed as much to ESPN's Emily Kaplan during his first training camp with his new club.
"I can be pretty anonymous here," Gardiner said. "Especially now. My first fan experience was at the golf tournament; this guy came up and said, 'Can you take a photo of me with the mascot?' So I took the picture of him and the mascot. And I was on the team."
Carolina signed Gardiner to a four-year, $16.2-million contract as an unrestricted free agent in early September.
The 29-year-old struggled in Game 7 losses to the Boston Bruins in each of the past two seasons, taking responsibility for his performance in an emotional postgame scrum back in 2018.
He was scapegoated by Toronto fans and media throughout his Leafs tenure, and notably earned boos every time he touched the puck during the third period of a January home game against the Colorado Avalanche after a misplay led to a costly shorthanded goal.
Gardiner collected 245 points in 551 career games with the Maple Leafs.