The Bruins’ quest for much-needed secondary scoring help may lead them to Arizona, and with another homecoming in their sights, as the team is interested in Coyotes winger and Scituate, Mass. native Conor Garland.
“I’m told the way the Coyotes see it is they need to replenish, and moving [Garland] could do it,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wrote in his latest ’31 Thoughts’ column. “He’s also arbitration-eligible this summer and next, followed by unrestricted free agency, so a much-deserved raise is on the way.
“One thing Arizona has told teams: It’s not interested in multiple picks that are late in rounds. So you’ve got to bring more than that. Obvious onlooker: Boston. The Bruins need to score, and he’s a onetime junior Bruin. That makes them contractually obligated to trade for him.”
A 25-year-old right-shot right wing, Garland has kicked off his 2021 campaign with nine goals and 25 points in 31 games. All but five of those 25 points have come at even-strength this season, making him the league’s 28th-most efficient five-on-five scorer, tied with names such as Mat Barzal and Brayden Point, and one ahead of Brad Marchand’s team-leading 19 even-strength points.
Garland is also coming off a 2019-20 season that included a career-high 22 goals and 39 points in 68 games, and one goal and an assist in eight playoff games.
The 5-foot-10 wing’s contract situation may be a boost in multiple ways, too. Garland is entering the final year of a deal with a mere $775,000 cap hit, meaning that a team like the Bruins could theoretically add him to their roster without having to make a subtraction from their current NHL roster. It’s also likely that the Coyotes, who always have cash-flow issues (and they haven’t gotten any better based on the last we heard), are going to sell on Garland because of that upcoming payday.
As for the price, Friedman’s report would seemingly hint at the Coyotes wanting a top pick and a cost-controlled prospect to go their way in a potential Garland deal. It’s worth mentioning that the Coyotes were stripped of their 2021 first-round pick for a combine testing violation, and that they moved their third-round pick in their 2019 deal for Taylor Hall. That leaves the Coyotes with just two picks in the top 96. The Bruins, meanwhile, have picks in all seven rounds in 2021.
Speaking on Monday, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney gave a brief glimpse into the Black and Gold’s deadline plans, with the health of the team being his top concern as the team gears up for what will be a brutal stretch run.
“The health of our group and how well we’re playing will sometimes determine it, as well as the availability of players you might like to add,” Sweeney said of the team’s deadline plans. “There’s all sorts of variables associated with it, and I can’t tell you whether or not we’re going to make a move in any direction because as I’ve said before, we’d like to. But a little bit of the health for our hockey club may dictate that.
“We’re testing depth, we’ve played twelve defensemen over the course of 28 games. And obviously several forwards are getting an opportunity. We’d like to be healthy and fully evaluate, but that might not be possible as well. It is a factor of what we’re trying to do and what we’d like to do. But I think all teams are dealing with it.”
The 2021 NHL trade deadline is set for Apr. 12. Here’s a list of some more names (some bigger than others) that could be on the move.