The Vancouver Canucks have inked newcomer Conor Garland to a five-year deal that will carry an average annual value of $4.95MM. The young forward was recently acquired from the Arizona Coyotes and was an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent. Canucks GM Jim Benning released a short statement on the deal:
We’re pleased to have reached a long-term deal with Conor today. He’s a skilled young player, who plays hard, produces offensively and will complement our top-six forward group.
PuckPedia provides the full contract breakdown, which does not include any trade protection:
- 2021-22: $3.75MM
- 2022-23: $4.0MM
- 2023-24: $6.0MM
- 2024-25: $6.0MM
- 2025-26: $5.0MM
It’s hard to imagine the Coyotes couldn’t have afforded this contract for Garland, which buys out three UFA seasons at a pretty reasonable price. Instead, they used Garland’s upside as a way to get out of Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s contract, all for the benefit of the Canucks. The 25-year-old has been the most important forward in Arizona for the last two years, registering 39 points in just 49 games this season. Shifty, creative and skilled, the 5’10” Garland should step directly into the Canucks’ top-six and make an impact offensively.
For just under $5MM, the Canucks can’t afford him to take a step backward, given how much other money they’ll have to commit elsewhere. This is the player they’ve decided to invest in, as a good chunk of their remaining camp space will be owed to Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, both restricted free agents waiting on new contracts. If the team can get a deal done to send Nate Schmidt packing they’ll have a little more to spend, but there are legitimate depth issues all over the roster that need to be filled as well.
So Garland is the play, and he’s certainly a good one to bet on right now. He not only excelled with increased responsibility in Arizona, but then went and dominated at the recent World Championships as part of Team USA. In ten games, he scored six goals and 13 points, trailing only Connor Brown in tournament scoring.
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