Just before the start of the season, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported that the Vancouver Canucks had given forward Conor Garland and his agency full freedom to find a suitable trade partner for the winger. Unfortunately, for most teams at this time of year, especially teams that are destined for a postseason run at the conclusion of the season, cap space is hard to come by, especially to fit in Garland’s $4.95MM until 2025-26.
However, nearly a week ago, Kevin Weekes of ESPN reported that the Canucks would be willing to retain as high as 30% of Garland’s salary for the next three seasons, meaning any acquiring team would only owe him approximately $3.465MM in total salary. Realistically speaking, even with the hypothetical retention of Garland’s salary, there are only seven teams with enough cap space to take on a discounted Garland, without moving out a salary in the process.
On a positive note in regards to the potential trade of Garland, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period wrote in an article last week that the Washington Capitals are interested in adding a top-six forward, as the offense has looked completely stagnant out of the gate. In the same article, Pagnotta notes that the Capitals could look to move out forward Anthony Mantha in any deal made to acquire Garland.
Unfortunately, with a roster surplus and salary cap problems of their own, the Canucks would be unable to take on the $5.7MM owed to Mantha for the rest of the season, even if no money was retained on Garland, complicating that hypothetical deal entirely. In the same vein, passing on a note from Friedman, Rick Dhaliwal of The Athletic confirms that the Capitals are indeed interested in acquiring Garland, but are trying to move Mantha in a separate trade.
For Garland, if Mantha becomes the domino that must fall before he is eventually moved out of Vancouver, the time frame on a potential trade has likely been extended to the trade deadline. Given the fact that Mantha has now been healthy scratched by the Capitals to start the year, Washington will likely have to move out significant assets in any trade involving Mantha, simply to entice the other party to absorb the rest of his contract.