The Boston Bruins must address their scoring depth issues before the April 12 NHL trade deadline if they want to make a deep run in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The B's rank 30th in the league with 44 goals scored during 5-on-5 play. Too many forwards on Boston's roster are underperforming offensively. David Krejci has scored one goal in 24 games. Sean Kuraly has scored two goals in 25 games. Jake DeBrusk has scored three goals in 21 games. Chris Wagner has scored twice in 23 games, and Anders Bjork has one goal in 24 games.
These numbers simply aren't good enough.
Finding another middle-six forward -- preferably a top-six winger -- should be a priority for Bruins general manager Don Sweeney over the next few weeks.
We recently looked at 10 players, including seven forwards, who the Bruins could target at the trade deadline. One player not on our list was Arizona Coyotes forward Conor Garland. Could he be an option for the B's?
Here's what Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman wrote about Garland's situation in his weekly 31 Thoughts column published Tuesday:
"A name that surprised me: Conor Garland. I don’t think there’s much Arizona wouldn’t consider, but this one is very intriguing. He’s finishing his current contract at $775,000, is nearly a point-per-game player, and is tied for 24th in the NHL in even-strength points. I’m told the way the Coyotes see it is they need to replenish, and moving him could do it. He’s also arbitration-eligible this summer and next, followed by unrestricted free agency, so a much-deserved raise is on the way.
"One thing Arizona has told teams: It’s not interested in multiple picks that are late in rounds. So you’ve got to bring more than that. Obvious onlooker: Boston. The Bruins need to score, and he’s a onetime junior Bruin. That makes them contractually obligated to trade for him."
Garland is from Scituate, Mass., so he's a local guy. The 24-year-old right winger has tallied 25 points in 31 games for the Coyotes this season. His nine goals would be the fourth-most on the B's after the top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. Garland's 25 points would tie Bergeron for the third-most on the roster.
Garland is a good fit for Boston because he's excelled at 5-on-5 this season. He has seven 5-on-5 goals and the Coyotes have a plus-10 scoring differential (24 goals for, 14 against) when he's been on the ice at 5-on-5, per Natural Stat Trick. In fact, 18 of his 25 points have come during 5-on-5. He is exactly the type of player the Bruins should be looking to acquire at the trade deadline.
The Coyotes are six points out of a playoff spot in the West division and have won just three of their last 10 games. They could be sellers at the trade deadline, and if Garland is available, the Bruins absolutely should be in the mix.