As much as Randy Carlyle likes the offensive skills that Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly can bring as a defence pair, the Maple Leafs coach also has a firm grip on what the youngsters can learn when put with a veteran.

Gardiner and Rielly had been together for 10 games before Carlyle broke them up on Thursday night, after the two were weak on for the Florida Panthers’ first goal at the Air Canada Centre.

Gardiner went to play with Cody Franson, a duo that worked last season; Rielly found himself with Tim Gleason, who has been a revelation since he was acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 1.

“We have been contemplating splitting the kids up for a while,” Carlyle said. “Those guys can expect they will see some time together, but expect to see some time apart too.

“Gleason has come in and been a heart-and-soul type for us. Blocking shots, physical, hard to play against.

“That should give Morgan a little bit more freedom knowing that type of player is back there. You’re not going to have to worry about Timmy Gleason leading too many rushes whereas when (Rielly) is partnered with Jake, it’s sometimes a two-horse race as to who is going to be the first one up the ice.