Could this Canucks forward be a fit for the Leafs?

Cole Hayes
January 31, 2022  (3:05 PM)

Canucks President of Hockey Operations, Jim Rutherford is looking at creating cap space for the Canucks and the team is checking the market for a few of his players, per a report on Monday. One of the players that is drawing interest from other teams is forward Conor Garland.

Garland was acquired by the Canucks along with defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson this summer and he was viewed as the sweetener for the Canucks for taking on OEL's contract. Garland is a young and cost efficient player. He makes $4.9 million through 2026 and he can comfortably slot into any team's top-6. For the majority of his career, Garland has scored at a 40-50 point pace but had an exceptional 2020-21 season where he had 39 points in 49 games.
A productive, cost-controlled forward like Garland could be a great add for the Toronto Maple Leafs at the trade deadline, given the fact that the Leafs are rumoured to be in the market for players with term remaining. Garland can play both wings and plays a tenacious but skilled game, right in line with what the Leafs are looking for. He's even familiar with Michael Bunting, so there could already be some chemistry there.
If the Leafs were to bring in Conor Garland they would need to move some money out. Alexander Kerfoot would be the obvious choice because of his $3.5 million cap hit. That being said, Kerfoot is having a career season and is scoring at a 59 point pace while developing great chemistry with John Tavares and William Nylander. Would the Leafs be interested in moving Kerfoot for a player who could be more valuable in the long term?
The Leafs could also try and get out of Nick Ritchie's contract and potentially Justin Holl's as well. Perhaps Kyle Dubas could finesse one of these players into a deal with the Canucks and move the other elsewhere.
If the trade could end up being something like Ritchie plus picks and prospects, that could certainly interest the Leafs. That being said, the Leafs should hang onto some of the higher-end picks and prospects to go towards a defenseman at the deadline.
Bringing in Conor Garland would definitely improve the Leafs' forward corps, but the question is; will the Leafs be able to bring in a player like Garland and still make an impactful addition to their blueline at the March 21st trade deadline?
Latest 10 stories