Conor Garland has created a good problem for the Arizona Coyotes.
With 24 points in 29 games this season, Garland is having the type of breakout season that makes him attractive to teams gearing up for a lengthy playoff push. Arizona could be one of those teams, but given their current position — six points out of a playoff spot without any games in hand — that’s not terribly likely.
And so, the question: To trade or not to trade?
“I’m hearing Arizona’s been asked about him,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said Saturday during the Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada. “And it’s not something I think they really want to do, but if the offer is big enough that it allows them to restock, I think they’re going to at least consider it.”
Garland’s breakout arguably came a season ago, when the former fifth-round pick potted 22 goals in 68 games. But this year’s points per game clip (0.83) and average time on ice (17:53) far exceed what he accomplished in either of his first two NHL seasons.
The 25-year-old carries just a $775,000 cap hit this season, and he’ll be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in the summer.
The Coyotes’ hand isn’t forced here, but perhaps they’ll strike a deal if the value of the return feels right.