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Report: Canucks give Conor Garland permission to talk to other teams

The 27-year-old winger has a $4.95 million cap hit for three more seasons.
conor garland darryl dyck cp
Conor Garland celebrates a goal for the Vancouver Canucks.

On the ice at practice on Tuesday morning, Conor Garland was in a prime spot on the Vancouver Canucks' first line with Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko.

Off the ice, however, Garland is evidently looking to go elsewhere.

According to report from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, the Canucks have granted Garland permission to speak to other teams in hopes of facilitating a trade.

Garland is currently in the third year of a five-year contract with a cap hit of $4.95 million. He was seventh on the Canucks in scoring last season with 46 points in 81 games and had 52 points the season before. The 27-year-old winger has also had excellent underlying numbers thanks to his strong transition play and work along the boards.

The Canucks are tight to the salary cap with several injuries to navigate as they head towards opening night on Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers — trading Garland would certainly free up some cap space.

Friedman expanded on his initial report in an interview with Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal.  

"Conor Garland and the Vancouver Canucks have reached an understanding that he is able to look for trades with other teams in the NHL to see if there’s a better fit for him," said Friedman. "As you guys know, the Canucks are very tight to the cap, and I think this is a situation where they’re looking to see if there are other options available to him."

Adding to the intrigue, Garland has changed his agent on the eve of the season.

"[Garland] has a new agent, Judd Moldaver, who is very aggressive, and although he wouldn’t comment, from what I understand and what I was told, he is pretty aggressively calling around in teams and seeing what the potential fits are,” said Friedman.

After practice on Tuesday, Garland confirmed that he changed agents within the last 48 hours. He also did not deny Friedman's report, simply stating that what he and his agent focus on are two different things.

"That's his business, that's not my business," said Garland. "I'm not an agent, I'm a hockey player — I play hockey. Tomorrow is the home opener, so I'm excited about that and that's what my sole focus is on...I'm excited to play in the home opener in a Canadian market, right? Isn't that what everybody [wants] as a hockey player? There's nothing really cooler than that."

While changing agents and having reports come out about potentially seeking a trade could turn into a distraction, Garland said he has no issue keeping his focus on the ice.

"I just go home, I don't talk hockey with my wife, I take my dog for a walk, and get ready for the game," he said, adding later. "For us as players, maybe you guys don't realize, you're in such a tunnel during the season that you're focused on playing each game. I'm a big routine person, I just focus on every day.

"Right now, I'm excited: I get a chance to play on the first line tomorrow with two great players against a really good team. I'm most likely going to play against the best player in the world, so that's where my focus is most: worrying about playing against 97 and 29 — that's a big task."