With the Vancouver Canucks hiring a new president of hockey operations in Jim Rutherford and general manager in Patrik Allvin the Canucks are seemingly looking to find a new identity. At the forefront of the Canucks identity change sit, trade rumours. With names such as J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser, and Conor Garland floating around, Canucks fans have begun to get antsy and heated among each other. Questions have started to rise with these rumours, questions such as when will the Canucks make moves and for who. Let’s focus on Conor Garland and why the Canucks shouldn’t part with the 25-year-old right-winger.
How It Started
The Vancouver Canucks acquired Conor Garland in a draft-day blockbuster trade with the Arizona Coyotes this past offseason. The trade saw the Canucks receive Garland’s restricted free agency rights along with defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, 2021 first-round draft pick (Dylan Guenther), 2022 second-round pick, and 2023 third-round pick. The Canucks inked Garland to a five-year deal less than a week after acquiring him. His five-year contract will have him locked up through his late 20’s, if he can steadily improve throughout this time there is a chance his $5 million salary-cap hit ends up looking like a steal.
The Canucks have been searching for consistent wingers to play alongside captain Bo Horvat for the better part of eight seasons, now they seemingly have. Throughout Garland’s first 41 games in Vancouver, he has notched 24 points while showing glimpses of being a top-six Canucks forward for years to come. Although Garland’s impact is not seen on the score sheet every game the five-foot-ten-inch winger is never afraid to throw his body around and get himself into the dirty areas of the ice. Wreaking havoc around the crease, and pestering the opposing team is proving to be a strength in Garland’s game. His play on the ice trickles into the crowd as well, keeping fans engaged whether he is throwing around his body or doing weird moves around the net, he also seems to bring some entertainment regardless of how the team is playing as a whole.
Conor Garland was playing mini-sticks trying to get a tap-in goal 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/izieTBJ8cw
— Gino Hard (@Ginohard_) November 22, 2021
Garland’s trade value is nowhere near the likes of teammates Brock Boeser or J.T. Miller. With the state the Canucks are in trading Garland now most likely will not get them anywhere closer to their goal of playoff success. With Garland in his fourth NHL season, he is yet to eclipse 40 points, which is not saying much as he played three seasons for a not so offensive-friendly Coyotes team. Through those three seasons, he just under 15 minutes of average ice-time. Now with Garland having a bright future, teams may show interest, but in order for a Garland trade to make sense for Vancouver, they would need to be getting a couple of draft picks in return as well as at least one young player. Garland’s track record may see this be hard to fetch though dealing Miller or Boeser as better options to help cement the Canucks future Stanley Cup hopes.
Future In Vancouver
Garland has a bright future ahead of him in Vancouver. As mentioned above he has proven to be a great fit alongside Bo Horvat. As well as his gritty style of play has shown he can successfully get under opposing players’ skin. Come playoff time this is a huge asset for teams, look back at the 2011 Stanley Cup finals where both teams had similar players in Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows and Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand. He may not be a star player like Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, or J.T. Miller, but he will undoubtedly be a key top-six player for the Canucks for many years.
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