The Vancouver Canucks answered the question about J.T. Miller's future last Friday, signing him to a seven-year, $56-million contract starting in 2023-24. However, they have a more pressing issue in determining how to become salary-cap compliant for the coming season.
Following the announcement of Miller's new contract, The Vancouver Province's Patrick Johnston observed the Canucks are over the $82.5-million salary cap for the coming season. Pointing to their desire to add a defenseman before the coming season, he suggested Conor Garland as a possible cost-cutting trade candidate.
Cap Friendly has the Canucks sitting roughly $2.75 million over the cap with 20 players under contract. With winger Micheal Ferland expected to miss this season due to concussion symptoms, they can garner $3.5 million in cap relief by placing him on long-term injury reserve.
That still wouldn't leave much wiggle room for the Canucks to add a right-side defenseman. Peddling someone like Garland and his $4.9-million average annual value could provide them with additional room to address that need.
Johnston believes it would be silly for the Canucks to trade Garland, pointing out the energy and production the 26-year-old winger brings to the lineup. However, he also acknowledged those traits would make him a valuable trade chip.
The Canucks could attempt to move Garland for Johnston's suggested price of a late first-round draft pick. Another option would be to find a club with surplus right-shot defensemen needing additional second-line forward depth. It would also be helpful if that blueliner carries an annual cap hit less than Garland's.