I love Conor Garland as a player, but the recent notes about bringing Garland onto the Maple Leafs’ lineup and moving Alex Kerfoot and Pierre Engvall off the lineup are crazy.
What I Like About Garland
The first thing I like about Garland is that he’s feisty. Having he and Michael Bunting both on the team would make the Maple Leafs much higher on the pest scale – how great that would be. In addition, Garland is a hockey player with a strong offensive upside. He has a quick and accurate shot, good hockey sense, and the ability to score goals in key situations.
Additionally, Garland is versatile. He can play both wings. Better yet, he has a strong work ethic. He seems to have a motor that just won’t quit. He’d be a valuable asset for this Maple Leafs’ team. His skills, compete level, drive, and determination make him a good hockey player.
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Rumour Has It That the Maple Leafs Would Like Garland
The Maple Leafs are rumoured to be interested in acquiring the diminutive forward from the Vancouver Canucks. Good enough on the face of it. Garland would bring a lot of energy and aggressiveness to the ice. His work ethic would be motivating. Fans would love him.
Despite being small, Garland makes up for it with his tenacity and competitiveness. He’s also a reliable two-way player who could contribute to either of the Maple Leafs’ special teams.
Now It Gets Dicey for Garland
As I’ve been reading Maple Leafs’ writers who are hot to bring Garland to the team’s roster, often they suggest that he would be an upgrade over Alex Kerfoot. Nope. He wouldn’t be an upgrade over Kerfoot.
Garland and Kerfoot are two different players, and it might be accurate that Garland brings elements to the ice that Kerfoot does not bring. But as an upgrade – No!
In addition, bringing in Garland would require salary-cap maneuvering. He’s in the second year of a five-year contract that pays him $4.95 million per season. One Maple Leafs’ writer suggested that the team might need to give up players to make a Garland trade work. In fact, the writer suggested that Toronto add Pierre Engvall to the deal. Crazy talk!
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Now We Are Into Maple Leafs Click Bait
Yes, that could be more than enough to make the money work and bring Garland to the team. And the writer is also correct that moving out Kerfoot and Engvall would save the Maple Leafs a bit of cap space for this season. While this suggestion is true insofar as the money is concerned, the on-the-ice value is nowhere near even. The Maple Leafs would be giving up too much.
In addition to the salary acrobatics, the writer suggests the Maple Leafs might have to include this year’s first-round pick or next year’s second-round pick to make the money work. Apparently, the bottom line is that the team needs to keep Auston Matthews and William Nylander and clearing money now would help with their upcoming extensions.
Crazy Talk Is Just That Crazy Talk
Fortunately, wiser heads are in charge of the Maple Leafs’ transactions. There are trade scenarios the Maple Leafs and the Canucks could explore if Toronto wants Garland and wants to move Kerfoot. But the truth for me is that, although Garland is good, he doesn’t move the dial sufficiently to make the trade logically justifiable.
Garland is just one more bit of created drama leading to the trade deadline. Any trade would depend on the specific needs and preferences of both teams.
That said, when I consider the outcome of any potential trade that would bring Garland to Toronto, I just don’t he adds enough value for the money. I love him as a player, but …
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