Conor Garland is the perfect buy low candidate for the Calgary Flames

Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
1 year ago
On Wednesday, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported that Vancouver Canucks general manager Patrik Alvin is looking to shed cap space this off-season, with a focus on moving out Conor Garland’s contract. Garland has three years remaining on his deal with an AAV of $4.95 million.
This is the type of buy low move that the Flames should be looking at doing.

Why Conor Garland?

Garland, a right handed, 27-year-old winger, is a solid player especially at 5-on-5. He put up 46 points in 81 games with the Canucks last season. 31 of those points came at 5-on-5 which was tied with J.T. Miller and Quinn Hughes for fourth on the Canucks. Garland only played 125 minutes on the power play in the 2022-23 season, almost exclusively with the Canucks second unit, and still managed to put up 12 points.
(Garland’s 82 game point pace over his last four seasons)
Garland’s most common linemates last season were Miller, Sheldon Dries, Nils Aman, and Dakota Joshua. If you give Garland some better linemates and more power play time, he could break out and be a consistent 55–65-point player.
And he has some ties to the Flames management group as Don Maloney was the GM who drafted Garland and signed him to his first NHL contract with the Coyotes in 2015.

How could the Flames make this work?

Like the Canucks, the Flames are right up against the salary cap heading into next season. PuckPedia is projecting the Flames to have $1.250 million of cap space heading into the off-season. The Canucks are already over the cap.
The Flames would have to move out some money to bring in Garland.
Here is a galaxy brain proposal I have been thinking of:
1. Calgary trades Tyler Toffoli
In order to make this work, the Flames would have to trade an expensive player off the roster. In this case I propose the Flames deal Toffoli for an asset or two. Preferably draft picks or prospects. Toffoli is coming off a career year and is 31 years old. He doesn’t seem like the type of player who will keep up this scoring pace into his 30s because of his skating. It would be incredibly risky to sign him into his mid to late thirties. Because of that I think it would be very smart for the Flames to sell high on him.
Toffoli has one year left on his contract with a cap hit of $4.25 million.
2. Calgary trades for Conor Garland
The Canucks are going to be aggressive in trading Garland this off-season. They would probably be willing to pull a Vegas Golden Knights Max Pacioretty type of trade and move him for future considerations.
In this scenario, the Flames could deal for Garland and get the Canucks to eat $700,000 of Garland’s cap hit to bring it down to $4.25M, the same cap hit as Toffoli. Calgary might even be able to get another asset out of the deal depending on how desperate the Canucks are to move money.
In the end the Flames would have acquired multiple assets for Toffoli, acquired as asset from the Canucks to take on Garland, and get a top 6 forward of close to equal value to replace Toffoli who is four years younger and has three years left on his deal.
Here is a breakdown of my crazy scenario.

Trade 1

The Flames move Toffoli to the Red Wings for draft picks. The Red Wings have a lot of cap space and draft picks heading into the season. They need help on the wing especially after trading Tyler Bertuzzi. And they want to take another step towards the playoffs. Toffoli gives them scoring and a veteran presence on their roster.
To Detroit: Tyler Toffoli
To Calgary: 2023 second-round pick & 2023 third-round pick.

Trade 2

The Flames clear out Toffoli’s money in the Detroit trade and open up the room for Conor Garland.
To Vancouver: Future considerations
To Calgary: Conor Garland (VAN retains $700,000) & 2023 third-round pick.
In this hypothetical scenario, the Flames gain draft picks in the second and third rounds of a deep 2023 NHL draft and acquire a player to keep them competitive for next season.
They could use those second and third-round picks to draft players to replenish their prospect system. They could use those picks to move up in the first round. Or they could use those picks in a hockey deal to bring in another player. The possibilities are endless!
These are the types of creative trades I would love to see the Flames make. The Hurricanes did this type of move twice last summer when they acquired Max Pacioretty and Brent Burns for next to nothing. Let’s hope the Flames start to be more innovative and less safe and conservative like they have been the last couple decades.

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