The NHL trade rumors exploded late last week. The Vancouver Canucks have given forward Conor Garland permission to seek a trade, and the Nashville Predators are one of a handful of teams interested in him, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Garland, who recently switched agents from Peter Cooney of Cooney Management to Judd Moldaver of Wasserman Hockey, reportedly requested to be traded not long before the season started. Last week, the news broke, and the NHL trade rumors are growing.
Moldaver also represents Predators captain Roman Josi plus some of the top players in the NHL, including Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Zach Werenski, and Carter Hart.
Friedman stated on Sportsnet’s “Saturday Headlines” that Nashville was one of the teams interested in Garland, along with Columbus and Winnipeg.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 15, 2023
“One team I’m curious about here is Nashville,” Friedman said on his “32 Thoughts” podcast. “I’m not saying it’s going to be them, but I’ve kind of wondered about them. For one, they have cap room. For two, they’re looking for the kind of player that would fit with Barry Trotz and Andrew Brunette.
“Vancouver is going to have to incentivize this. There’s a couple of teams telling me they’re going to have to keep at least 30 percent (of his salary) and see what other sweetener is there. I had a couple people tell me of all the teams that it could make sense, it could be Nashville.”
NHL Trade Chatter
Friedman reported that the Canucks prefer a defenseman in return, of which Nashville has plenty to choose from. Tyson Barrie, Alex Carrier, Dante Fabbro and Jeremy Lauzon are four options at the NHL level who could step in and help Vancouver immediately.
If the Canucks prefer a player with fewer miles and want to go the prospect route, the Predators also have Jake Livingstone, Spencer Stastney or Marc Del Gaizo in Milwaukee, who could be appealing, or others including Ryan Ufko (UMass), Luke Prokop (ECHL), Anton Olsson (SHL) or Kasper Kulonnumi (Liiga) who could also be of interest.
Garland is a speedy skater with a high motor and plenty of elusiveness who excels at creating space — particularly along the boards — and jumps in on the forecheck and creates plenty of turnovers.
He’s got an eye for setting up teammates for prime scoring chances, and he’s got the kind of sharp, accurate passing ability that makes him an ideal fit in Brunette’s offense-forward system.
The 27-year-old Garland has one goal on two shots and is averaging 9:47 of ice time per game in two appearances. He’s skated on the Canucks’ top line with Andrei Kuzmenko and Elias Pettersson in both of their games this year.
CONOR GARLAND STARTS THE PARTY! 🎉 pic.twitter.com/soODKxfk1W
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 12, 2023
Garland tallied a career-high 52 points in 2021 — his first with the Canucks — and he’s just three years removed from a 22-goal season. The 5-foot-10 right winger is under contract for $4.95 million through the 2025-26 season. If Vancouver were to retain 30% of his salary ($1.485 million), the Predators, who have approximately $7.85 million in cap space, would be getting him at a reasonable $3.465 million price tag.
If Garland, who’s logged 45 or more points in back-to-back years, were to land in Nashville, he seemingly would be a natural fit on the Predators’ second line and would be an upgrade, at least offensively, over Kiefer Sherwood and Cole Smith, who have both played second-line minutes this season.
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