By: Kevin O’Keefe | Follow me on Twitter @Kevin_OKeefe89
The most important off-season of Bruins general manager, Don Sweeney’s career, is off to the races in what promises to be an exciting ride. The win-now Bruins are in a firm position to sink their teeth into the free-agent class to fill the holes that have been exposed this past season. With around $25 million in cap space to play with, Boston has the ability not many contenders have, that is, to make an enormous splash by bringing in a plethora of key pieces to round out their roster. One of those pieces…should undoubtedly be trading for Arizona Coyotes forward…. Conor Garland.
According to a tweet from David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, Arizona is trying to move the pending restricted-free-agent Garland, and Boston is one of many teams that has checked in on this. This isn’t the first time the Bruins have been linked to the young forward; Boston did their due diligence on Garland this past trade deadline….so it’s safe to say the interest is strong for Don Sweeney. This shouldn’t be a shocker to anyone who knows Sweeney’s track record when it comes to his undying love for Massachusetts-born players.
Hailing from Scituate, Massachusetts, Conor Garland gives Sweeney more than just his area code to salivate about. At 5-foot-10 and 165-pounds, his size isn’t anything to write home about, but he is the type of player who will chirp and antagonize opposing players all game long. He’s not one to back down, and his play shows this. He is also a valuable forechecker who fits the Bruins mold. He consistently uses his puck skills and speed to create timely plays while shifting momentum in the blink of an eye. This is the type of forward Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy would praise on a nightly basis.
This past season, Garland continued his growth as a legitimate top-6 option for the Coyotes with 39-points in 49-games. In the Bruins line-up, that would have placed him 5th on the team in points, right behind center David Krejci (44-points). If the Bruins were to trade for Garland, to get the best production out of the skilled forward would be to place him on the second line alongside Krejci and Hall. This would allow you to drop Craig Smith down to the third line with Charlie Coyle. While I enjoyed the success of Smith being able to jump up to that line, He is one of the best third-line wingers in the game and would help Charlie Coyle provide the much-needed depth scoring in the bottom-6 the Bruins desperately need.
This move makes too much sense for the Bruins not to do everything in their power to make it happen. This is a move not only for now…. it’s also for the future of this team. Being only 25-years-old, Garland would help create that depth on the right-side well into the future behind David Pastrnak. Garland still has plenty of growth left in him and hasn’t even hit his prime years. Playing on a line with Krejci and Hall would accelerate not only his production but growth as a professional as well.
What would it take to get Garland in a trade? Well, for starters, you’re going to have to give to get. This year’s first-round pick or next year’s would have to be on the table. I prefer next year as I’m hoping it will be the 32nd pick, but if it were this year’s pick, I wouldn’t be too worried about it. Sweeney’s draft record isn’t the greatest, and taking the sure bet on a young developing top-6 winger would be wise. The chance of Sweeney trying to be the smartest guy in the room once again at this year’s draft by going off the board for a wild pick is on a lot of fans’ minds. Let’s nip that in the butt by using it towards a 25-year-old piece of the now-and-future for this team.
If Sweeney could pull off getting this deal done without adding in Debrusk, that would be a huge win. If not, you could turn around and give that $3.6 million to Garland and still go out and get another forward for your bottom-6. Debrusk could have a bounce-back season here with the Bruins, but if he doesn’t, his trade value will drop even further, and you’d be kicking yourself for not trading him. With that said, if it takes Debrusk and a first…. it’s a done deal for me. Bruins fans…. I’ll leave you with this; Give me Garland or give me death! That should be Sweeney’s motto going into this deal; he has all the qualities you would expect from anyone pulling ok the spoked-b…. get it done!