Nashville Predators Trade Rumblings: Interested in Canucks’ Conor Garland?

Mar 6, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Conor Garland (8) handles the puck against the Nashville Predators in the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 6, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Conor Garland (8) handles the puck against the Nashville Predators in the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports /

Only a week into the 2023-24 NHL season and already the trade rumors are buzzing, and yes the Nashville Predators are being linked to one player who would be considered still in their prime and maybe just needs a change of scenery.

It is being reported by David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period that the Nashville Predators have inquired about Garland, who has been on the trade block for the Vancouver Canucks for a while now. Dating back to last season.

Garland is in his third season with the Canucks, who are a team that is looking to free up some lineup space and add a little salary cap. They currently have $0 in salary cap space per CapFriendly.

In the Canucks’ first two games, Garland has averaged a meager 9:47 of ice time, but does have a goal and has skated effectively showing he hasn’t let the trade rumors hold him down.

Where Would the Nashville Predators Fit Conor Garland?

I’m sure this makes many of you Predators fans cringe at the thought of another trade rumor piece surrounding this team, and the idea of taking away a lineup spot from the popular youth movement.

Nashville’s forward core is made up of an even balance of veterans and youth. Adding Garland to the mix would possibly push out a younger player depending on who would be part of a trade to Vancouver.

“I give Garland a lot of credit. He has known the team has been trying to move him for a year and a half – basically since Jim Rutherford took over – and he’s been a good soldier throughout.” -David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period 

Pagnotta’s reporting suggests that Dante Fabbro could be a trade piece for Nashville in a potential trade for Garland. Fabbro’s name coming up shouldn’t surprise anyone. I’d argue he’s at the top of Nashville’s trade block list and will remain there all the way up to the trade deadline in 2024.

Garland put up a 46-point campaign for Vancouver in 2022-23 while being the subject of trade rumors. He’s a solid top-six player who is on Vancouver’s top line right now, and if you throw him into the mix with Nashville it could push fringe players out like Kiefer Sherwood and Cole Smith out.

It’s also being reported that Vancouver will likely have to retain some of Garland’s $4.95M AAV, but how much is speculation. On the flip side, the Predators have cap space to play around with at roughly just over $7.8M, while Fabbro makes just $2.5M AAV.

A lot of numbers to crunch, but the question is obviously if Garland is worth shaking up the core of this roster yet again. A roster that has already gone through so much change since last trade deadline, and is still trying to find its way after three games.

Although Garland would be a boost to the offense and even provide more help to the power play, which is 1-for-14 through three games, this also comes with some baggage. Garland has two more years left, so you have to hope he provides you a noticeable boost to the lineup to take on two more years with him.

light. Related Story. Preds Outlook after 1st Week of Season: Lines, Penalties, Sissons

Might be a Good Idea to Flip Fabbro for Garland

Being just shy of 28-years-old, it is a positive that Garland is still in the middle of his prime and could blossom with a new team. He has never surpassed 52 points in season, but has always been a steady contributor for both the Coyotes and Canucks.

Garland can also go out and get you some clutch goals in critical moments, and the Predators have always been thin at the winger spot when it comes to that.

The negative ripple effect to this is of course, does that mean Evangelista or Tomasino get buried further down the depth chart to find space for Garland? You’re not trading for Garland for him to be in a bottom-six minimal role. Just not happening.

I’m honestly torn on how I feel about this. On one hand it’s probably time to move on from Fabbro, and flipping him for a veteran top-six forward who still has upside would be worth it for Fabbro.

Additionally, there’s no indication at all that Fabbro will be here past next offseason as he’ll be a RFA with arbitration eligibility.

If this trade were to happen, the Predators would have a rock solid top-six with some offensive playmakers, but their defensive corps would get a little thinner. With that said, it comes down to how much faith they have in their current defensive prospects like Jake Livingstone, Spencer Stastney and Jordan Gross.

The Predators could survive with moving on from Fabbro in favor of adding Garland to their forwards, and you could even say they’d be a better overall team in that swap. The risk is supplanting your youth, shaking up more chemistry and potentially carrying a failed project for another two years on the books if it doesn’t work out.