As the Calgary Flames battled their west coast rival Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night, the home team’s scouts were getting a good look at potential NHL trade deadline additions.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported during the Hockey Day in Canada broadcast that winger Conor Garland may be available, and that the Flames are among a handful of teams he suggested have shown interest.
Those scouts didn’t see much production as the Flames earned a 1-0 overtime victory. Johnny Gaudreau was the only scorer on the night.
The Canucks’ versatile JT Miller has already been a bit of a topic of conversation in Calgary Flames fan and media circles. But Garland is another attractive piece on the NHL trade block who might be able to help the Flames balance their scoring. They currently relying heavily on their top line of Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk.
Garland had 10 goals and 24 points through his first 38 games as a Canuck after signing a five-year, $24.75-million deal last summer.
The 25-year-old winger has the right-handed shot the Flames covet. And with four more years of term, he would give the team an established offensive asset at a time of uncertainty.
Impending restricted free agents Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington all need new deals. And Gaudreau is able to test unrestricted free agency this summer.
Miller is a little older at 28. Bigger at 6-foot-1. As a centre who can also play on the wing, he checks a lot of Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter’s boxes.
Miller has another year on his deal as well, which carries a $5.25-million cap hit. He has 15 goals and 44 points in 41 games.
Salary retention might be more likely in a Miller move, but Garland may come slightly cheaper from an asset perspective. There is the difference in production, but the Canucks may also be less enamored with the feisty but diminutive Garland.
To be fair, though, Garland does pack a punch for a 5-foot-10, 165-pound man.
The Calgary Flames seem determined to add that offensive punch. It will be interesting to see who they ultimately land.