Flames Trade Targets: Conor Garland

The Flames have an obvious need for a right shot RW. Could Garland fit that bill?

The Calgary Flames have had an obvious need at RW for years and years. They tried to fill the gap with Chiasson, Brouwer, Neal, and the list goes on, but have yet to solve the problem.

They did acquire Elias Lindholm, who had a great tenure at RW alongside Gaudreau and Monahan, but he shifted to center this year and has not looked back. With the downfall of Sean Monahan this season, it is safe to assume that Lindholm remains at 1C unless of course, the Flames can pull off a Jack Eichel deal.

Since Lindholm was shifted to center, the right-wing position became so bare, we saw Brett Ritchie getting time in the top-six, and Matthew Tkachuk was shifted to his off-wing for parts of the season as well.

This massive hole at RW needs to be filled this off-season if this team even wants to think about the playoffs. It is safe to say that Brett Ritchie is not a top-six forward, not even close.

And now I introduce a potential solution to the Flames massive problem, Conor Garland. Who is Conor Garland? Let me tell you.

The 25-year-old, 5’10, 165 lbs forward is an RFA this off-season, so the Flames would have the option to give him whatever deal he chooses. Speaking of what deal to give him, let’s get into Garland’s stats from his time with the Coyotes, and what he can bring to the Flames.

Garland’s first NHL season came in 2018-2019, where he played 41 games and 18 points, 15 of those being goals. Analytically, Garland put together a solid rookie season, at 60 overall, with a very nice 75 in defense.

In 2019-2020, Garland put together 22 goals and 17 assists for 39 points in 68 games. Analytically, Garland was very impressive, putting up a 88 overall!

This past 2020-2021 season, Garland burst onto the scene, putting up 12 goals and 27 assists for 39 points in 49 games. Analytically, it was not as good as 2019-2020, as he was not as good in both categories, especially defensively. This could be something to look into, be it system-wise or an overall team struggle, as Garland did put up the exact same point totals as 2019-2020, but in 19 fewer games. One can also point to Garland’s PP offense generating a lot lower than in previous years, which could also explain why Garland’s goal scoring was down.

Looking at the three seasons combined, Garland is a very solid player overall. With his point totals increasing year after year, one can see that Garland has not even hit his peak yet, and continues to improve. Putting up an 82 overall in his first three seasons is something to look at, and would be a good player to acquire, in hopes he continues to improve.

Since Garland is an RFA, I will also mention that Evolving-Hockey.com projects Garland’s contract at 4 years, 4.698 million AAV. I would be very comfortable giving that contract to Garland, as he fills needs that the Flames have on their roster, and fits the age group of the core we have.

For the acquisition cost, it would be quite simple. The Coyotes lost their 1st round pick this year due to their draft scandals, and are entering a “re-tool” mode, so they want picks and prospects. Calgary has many picks in the next couple of drafts, due to the Sam Bennett and Milan Lucic/James Neal trades. Maybe a 2021 2nd and 2022 2nd is enough for Garland? It depends on the interest level on Garland, so it is tough to suggest the potential value.

Let me know your thoughts. With the lack of RW options available in free agency this year, and the obvious need from the Flames standpoint, is Garland worth acquiring? What would you be comfortable giving up?

That’s all, see you in the next one,

-James J