The Philadelphia Flyers should do as much as possible to overcome any shortcomings from last season. Self-destructive goaltending aside, the Flyers were an alright team up top and a miserable catastrophe on the blue line.
But truly, why not solve any problems you have by getting a really, really good forward that can make life easier on everyone wearing the same uniform on the ice? We’re creeping towards position-less hockey anyway, so getting someone that will no doubt make your team better, no matter the area they most commonly exist in on the ice, is the way to go.
Especially when a team is essentially selling anything that isn’t bolted to the desert floor.
Frank Seravalli on TSN1260 - Coyotes asked Conor Garland’s agent to put together some salary proposals. He presented them two different options, that was on May 20. #Yotes haven’t even answered, haven’t responded, haven’t picked up the phone to even acknowledge they received them— NHL News (@PuckReportNHL) June 28, 2021
The Arizona Coyotes are creating their own hell and stumbling over the most basic aspects of team management, like talking to your pending restricted free agent about getting a new contract so that he can keep on playing hockey for your professional hockey team.
Conor Garland’s production exploded this season — scoring 12 goals and 39 points through 49 games playing for a fairly bad team. And this are not empty-calorie points either. Every single season in his three-year career, he finishes with above 50 percent in goals for share, shot attempt share, and expected goals share. He just completely drives the play and makes players better around him.
On a mediocre Coyotes team, he has been able to have a 58.66 (2018-19), 55.39 (2019-20), and 55.25 (2020-21) goals for percentage at 5-on-5. No matter what, Arizona always scores more goals than their opponents when the 5-foot-10 winger is on the ice.
Garland also scores sick ass goals.
Despite his diminutive size, he has always finished each season with more takeaways than giveaways. Being able to keep the puck glued to his stick through traffic certainly helps, but he’s just a tenacious defender for a offensively-talented winger.
If I’ve not convinced you enough that the Coyotes are dumb as hell for letting him potentially leave their team, then I don’t know what to tell you. Garland was by far Arizona’s best forward this past season, so just think of what he can do next to some top-level talent.
Now how may Philadelphia acquire this young man?
As Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman mentions in his latest 31 Thoughts blog, with the financial impact playing a huge role on the entire league, the thresholds for an offer sheet has dropped significantly into completely manageable zones.
Our own Eamon Smith has declared that NHL management teams are big wussies when it comes to taking good players from poorly-run organizations, so an idea of Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher going for it with Garland is unlikely. But considering that Evolving Hockey currently has Garland’s next contract (signing as an RFA with a different team) projected as four years at $4.73-million AAV, that would mean the Flyers will be giving up a 1st and a 3rd-round pick. An easy price for a player of Garland’s magnitude.
Maybe all of my finger-crossing can help and it will be bumped down to the next zone (below $4.11 million) and it will just be one measly 2nd-round pick. I can dream.
Considering the cap, it also helps that Fletcher doesn’t have a terribly busy summer ahead of him. Only Nolan Patrick and Carter Hart are the significant players that will need new deals, and those should be wrapped up quickly after two disappointing seasons. It certainly helps that the Flyers are projected to have over $13 million in cap space this summer (and that’s before someone is plucked by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft) to play with, so taking a run at a winger in his prime that doesn’t require a lot of commitment or payment, is one way to make the entire roster breathe easier.
Philadelphia certainly has a bounty of wingers, but Garland can just simply make this team a whole lot better and that is really the end goal of it all, isn’t it?