The LA Kings should put Conor Garland in their crosshairs.
The Coyotes found Conor Garland in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Draft. In his draft year, he was playing for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL, where he scored 39 goals with 89 assists for 128 points. The previous year, he scored 35 goals with 94 points for 129 points. He made his debut for the Coyotes during the 2018-2019 campaign, tallying 13 goals with five assists for 18 points in 47 games.
This past season, the 24-year-old lit the lamp 22 times with 17 assists for 39 points in a COVID-19 shortened 68-game season, while chipping in four goals on the man advantage. Garland logged a 51.7 CorsiFor percentage and 4.6 CorsiRel value. Going one step further, he logged a 4.9 point share, broken down into a 3.6 OPS and 1.3 DPS.
The Coyotes made the playoffs, and Garland tallied a goal with an assist before the team was ousted by the Colorado Avalanche.
Garland’s contract expires after next season, but he’ll be a restricted free agent looking at a bridge deal, so the LA Kings could conceivably have him for much longer. He began the year splitting time on the bottom-six lines, but as the season wore on, Garland’s stock increased, seeing more time on the top-six lines. And over the final 28 games or so, he was playing right wing on Taylor Hall‘s line.
The Kings are in a perfect position to acquire Garland, giving how much draft capital they have stored away. I’d be willing to bet no player from the prospect pool would need to be part of this deal. LA has three second-round picks and two third-round picks in this year’s draft.
After Byfield, the Kings will turn their attention to a defenseman or two, but they are likely to take a forward in there as well. Why not trade a second-rounder or a third-rounder or some combination of the two to get a 24-year-old player who is already established? It’s something to think about leading up to October’s draft and before another team jumps in with the same line of thinking.