In the days leading up to the April NHL trade deadline, it seemed all but certain the Arizona Coyotes would move Conor Garland.
It ultimately didn’t happen, but might he be playing elsewhere this autumn? It sounds likely.
Garland became arguably the most valuable forward on the Coyotes this season, but the campaign seemed like their last run with the current group. A bunch of their defensemen are unrestricted free agents, and they appear interested in trading Oliver Ekman-Larsson and the captain’s big contract.
No available player on their roster would fetch a bigger return than Garland, though. He’s a pending restricted free agent, and the cash-clearing Coyotes seem unlikely to give him the contract he’ll be eyeing.
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli spoke to Garland’s agent, and it sounds like things are tenuous.
“The Coyotes have not treated Garland like the player who was the heartbeat of their team,” Seravalli wrote Wednesday. “Garland?s camp, led by agent Peter Cooney, submitted two contract proposals (as requested by the club) on May 20 and there has been zero communication or dialogue since. ‘We’re just looking for Conor to be paid respectfully like the core player he was for the Coyotes,’ Cooney told Daily Faceoff on Tuesday. It appears that will be elsewhere, which is no real shock given that Arizona nearly moved Garland in the days prior to April?s trade deadline.”
The 25-year-old Scituate, Mass., native had 12 goals and 27 assists in 49 games last season as Arizona missed the playoffs. He could play a top-line winger role, but on most contenders would be best suited as a second liner.