— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) July 27, 2021
Conor Garland Inks Five-Year Deal With the Vancouver Canucks
The former Arizona Coyotes forward got rewarded for his recent excellent play and will be an important part of the Canucks’ future going forward. The 25-year-old Scituate, MA native has had 47 career goals along with 49 assists in 164 games. Over the past two seasons, Garland had 34 goals and 44 assists in 117 games. In hindsight, he was grossly underpaid when he signed a two-year deal worth just $775,000. In fact, over that period, he proved the most cost-effective forward in the NHL.
However, when the Coyotes were getting serious about trading Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the team needed something to sweeten the deal for Vancouver. Enter Conor Garland. While the Coyotes seemed to approve of his improved play, paying him a deserved raise wasn’t in their interest.
That was entirely evident after Garland’s agent presented the Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong with two contract proposals back in May; the team had no response. As a result, it became obvious that they didn’t intend to keep him on the roster. But it shouldn’t surprise many. Even in the lead-up to the trade deadline in 2021, talks were already ongoing. Potential contenders like the Boston Bruins seemed interested in adding him to their arsenal, but that never quite got over the line.
How Does Garland Add to Vancouver’s Future
It seems that the Canucks needed to add another top-six forward and Garland fit the bill. Whether the trade including OEL would have happened without Garland included in the package is debatable. The Coyotes erased a huge contract obligation to Ekman-Larsson and only had to retain 12 percent of his $8.25 AAV contract which expires in 2027. So, instead of OEL headmanning a pass to Garland in Arizona, he will be doing that in Vancouver instead. Garland became the salary cap’s ‘sacrificial lamb’ in Arizona but he will be a great addition to the Canucks who are already loaded with offensive talent.
Now the big question for Arizona is will they lose season ticket holders’ support, trading one of the fan favourites? After all, the NHL is a business, right?