Canucks 2023 Offseason Trade Destinations for Garland 

The Vancouver Canucks‘ top priority heading into the 2023 offseason is to clear up cap space. To do so, the organization will have to offload a few contracts. One of the names that have popped up as the likeliest trade option is Conor Garland. According to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, the Canucks are actively trying to move Garland’s salary.

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The Canucks acquired Garland in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes, which has set the organization up for failure thanks to Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s contract. He signed a five-year, $24.750 million deal with the organization after the trade and has three seasons remaining at an annual average value (AAV) of $4.950 million. As a result, his low AAV makes him one of the easier players to move. The Canucks have a few teams as potential trade destinations for the forward.

Boston Bruins

After winning the Presidents’ Trophy, the Boston Bruins suffered a disappointing first-round loss to the Florida Panthers. The organization took a 3-1 series lead but blew it and lost in overtime of Game 7. Heading into the 2023 offseason, the Bruins have a few questions. The main question is whether captain Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci return or retire. Regardless of either player returning, the club will aim to stay competitive with David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy still around. Therefore, adding a player like Garland as middle-six forward would help the team.

Connor Garland Vancouver Canucks
Connor Garland, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Bruins showed interest in Garland midway through last season and still should be interested. The Bruins need to shed cap space to re-sign players, and despite Taylor Hall’s impressive playoff performance, the forward is likely on the trade block due to his $6 million cap hit. As a result, Garland could help fill the hole left if the Bruins trade Hall at $1.05 million less. Hall was on pace to 48 points in 82 games this past season, while Garland posted 46 points in 81 games. Also, Garland is five years younger than Hall and fits the Bruins’ culture as the Scituate, Massachusetts native plays with a competitive edge.

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A trade with the Bruins for Garland should be interesting. The Canucks will need to take on a salary with a lower cap hit than Garland’s for a deal to make sense. The Canucks need help on their blue line, and right-shot defender Brandon Carlo could be a target, as the team has shown interest in him before.

New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils made the playoffs for the first time since 2018 with their young core. After eliminating their division rival, the New York Rangers, in six games, they fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in five games during the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The Devils have a few wingers north of 30 who are unrestricted free agents in Erik Haula and Tomas Tatar. Therefore, they’ll need help in their top nine. They also have $34.283 million in cap space heading into the offseason and will likely attempt to improve their roster.

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The Devils are also a trade partner for Garland, as the organization showed interest in him in the past. New Jersey also makes for a good trade partner as they have space to take on Garland’s cap space, and the Canucks don’t necessarily have to take the cap back. Instead, they can acquire a mid-tier prospect or a second-round draft pick.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost in five games to the Panthers after making it past the first round for the first time since 2004. The organization might move one of their wingers, Mitch Marner or William Nylander, to shake up their core after both their top-six centres said they want to stay with the club. Therefore, the organization might need a replacement winger in their top six, and Garland seems to fit.

Mitch Marner Toronto Maple Leafs
Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Similar to the Devils and Bruins, the Maple Leafs showed interest in Garland. Even if Toronto don’t trade Marner or Nylander, they can add Garland as a second-line winger with a player who plays with a bit of an edge, something the club lacks in their top six. The Maple Leafs could make a deal work if they offload one of their bigger contracts elsewhere or if the Canucks retain some salary.

Garland Best Trade Piece Available for Canucks

The Canucks are desperate to move cap space, and Garland is the easiest piece they can move. He has a lower cap hit than the other forwards and brings value to any team he’d join. The Bruins could use the forward to help keep the competitive next season. Meanwhile, the Devils have shown interest in him before and are likely still interested in adding him after losing in the second round. Also, the Maple Leafs could use a player in their top six that plays with an edge. Nonetheless, if the Canucks can complete a trade involving Garland this offseason, it would be a step in the right direction.