On January 29, Elliotte Friedman mentioned on 32 Thoughts that the Vancouver Canucks might be willing to trade 25-year-old right winger Conor Garland at the upcoming trade deadline as a way to give the team more cap space this offseason. Friedman mentioned that the Calgary Flames were one of the potential suitors. Hearing the Flames are in on a trade will sound both familiar and tiresome unless the trade call is actually made. However, Garland is definitely worth taking a serious look at as an option to fill the hole in Calgary’s right wing at this years deadline.
What would Garland bring?
Let’s look at his point totals so far this season as well as his totals from the two previous seasons when he was an Arizona Coyote.
Garland has only been in the NHL for four seasons but has been a 30-point player every year (he’s well on pace to get past 30 this season) aside from his rookie season where he only recorded 18 points in 47 games.
Last year, Garland was third on the Coyotes in total points, and he is currently sitting in fourth place on the Canucks this season behind only Quinn Hughes, J.T. Miller, and Elias Pettersson.
He’s clearly able to contribute points at the NHL level, but his advanced stats also paint a pretty good picture of the positive impact he brings to his team on the ice.
His 63.04 GF% this season is pretty incredible and a huge step up from his past two seasons, and just helps to really drill in the positive impact Garland has had on the offence in Vancouver at times this season. Garland is also currently boasting a 60.87 HDGF% which indicates his strong ability to both finish and drive offence—a big problem among many of the Flames depth pieces for most of the season that Garland could seek to fix.
What could a Garland trade look like?
Despite Garland having his best season from an advanced stats perspective he’s currently not scoring quite like he was last season, with only a six game difference from his total games played last season to what he’s played so far this year, he has 13 fewer points at the moment.
He’s also fallen into a big slump as of late only contributing three points in his last 12 games. So while his value might be a bit lower than it was in the offseason, we have to imagine Vancouver hasn’t forgotten what he was contributing earlier this season.
Let’s start to try to come up with trade by looking at what Vancouver paid for him in the summer.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (12% retained), Conor Garland.
Jay Beagle, Louis Eriksson, Antoine Roussel, a 2021 first-round pick, a 2022 second-round pick, and a 2021 seventh-round pick.
Given the difference between the Coyotes and Flames situations, Vancouver would likely be looking for a very different type of package.
Luckily we know that one of the main reasons Vancouver hopes to possibly trade Garland is to free up cap space. So in order to come up with a trade the Flames will need to make sure that whatever is sent to Vancouver helps them with that.
The Canucks would likely want a first-round pick as the starting price. So the Flames would probably need to include their 2022 first-round pick. To add more the Flames could also include a player with a comparable salary and an expiring contract such as Nikita Zadorov. If the goal of the Canucks is to gain cap space for the offseason taking on one of the Flames’ weaker players shouldn’t be too big of an issue especially with a first-round pick sweetening things.
If that’s not enough Garland may also be worth a future third-round pick or fourth-round pick, as he does come with a valuable long-term three-year deal costing only 4.95 million AAV.
Possible forward lineup with Garland
Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk
Mangiapane – Backlund – Garland
Dube – Monahan – Coleman
Being able to keep the forward core of this team in tact and push one of Trevor Lewis or Brett Ritchie out of the lineup would help to really give this team some serious secondary firepower. Additionally when you consider how well a player like Garland could play on a line with a resurgent Backlund and Mangiapane, compared to his linemates in both Arizona and Vancouver.
However, with the Flames’ second line clicking, a newly acquired player like Garland may even slot in the third line instead. Having the flexibility to interchange players in the middle-six is a good problem to have, and a trade to the Flames might be exactly what Garland needs to get out of the slump he’s found himself in currently.
Should the Flames make a move on Garland
The Flames should seriously consider trading for Garland. He fills the Flames’ main need of secondary scoring on the right side, is a skilled finisher and also will likely come at a much cheaper cost than many other trade targets such as Tyler Toffoli, Tomas Hertl, Claude Giroux, and Jordan Eberle.
Photo credit: Rick Osentoski-USA Today Sports