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Maple Leafs Had “Intense” Talks On Conor Garland Before Foligno Trade

Apparently, the Toronto Maple Leafs had intense talks about trading for Conor Garland before adding Nick Foligno.

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As per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, during his latest 31 Thoughts podcast, “I think the one player the Maple Leafs looked at was Conor Garland.” While discussing with co-host Jeff Marek what Toronto had been able to get done during the NHL Trade Deadline weekend, Friedman said he heard that the Leafs seriously internalized going after Garland of Arizona, at one point even reaching out to the Coyotes and talking about a trade.

The arbitration eligible forward who has 10 goals and 31 points in 42 games with Arizona, the Maple Leafs had some talks about adding one player who hasn’t a UFA. All of the other adds that the Leafs did during this offseason were for rentals, all on expiring deals. Garland wouldn’t have fallen under the same category, but the Leafs would have had a few options.

Friedman explains that part of the reason GM Kyle Dubas stuck to his gun on UFAs was because he wants the flexibility to sign Zach Hyman in the offseason. It is extremely high on the Leafs’ priority list that the team have the room they need to make an extension work there. Friedman said, “I do think they had some pretty intense conversations about Garland, I don’t believe it was ever close, but I think they talked about it and I think they talked about it with Arizona…”

Friedman suggested it would have been a fascinating decision because Garland doesn’t have a contract for next year and the belief is that he’s going to get a serious raise over the $775K he’s making this year. “If Hyman leaves, you have Garland. If Hyman stays, were they thinking, you know we take Garland for this run and figure it out down the road.”

Related: Taylor Hall Squashed Better Trade Offer Before Joining Bruins

Why Didn’t the Deal Really Going Anywhere?

Friedman does acknowledge that the price for Garland would have been higher and it likely wouldn’t have been a situation where the Leafs simply choose not to qualify the forward next season. Instead, if a Hyman deal would have gotten done, they’d have to try and trade Garland.

“I don’t know what they were thinking,” Friedman says. But, he does know, they didn’t make the move for Nick Foligno until they knew they weren’t getting Garland. “Could they have done both? I have no idea,” he says.

Next: Rangers and Canadiens Tried to Make Interesting DeAngelo Deadline Deal

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