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Coyotes sign F Conor Garland to two-year contract extension

Conor Garland of the Arizona Coyotes during the first period of the NHL game against the San Jose Sharks at Gila River Arena on January 16, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Coyotes announced Wednesday a two-year contract extension for rookie forward Conor Garland, locking him in place through the 2020-2021 season.

Terms of the contract weren’t disclosed by the team, but Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the deal is for $775,000 per year.

“It’s nice to get a deal done and be able to be here for two more years on a team that is kind of on the uptick and we’re going to be fighting for a playoff spot for hopefully years to come,” Garland said. “I’m excited to be a part of that type of group.”

Garland has been a standout rookie for Arizona this season, making his NHL debut on Dec. 8 and scoring 12 goals with three assists for 15 points in an average of 12:43 of ice time per game since then. His 12 goals are tied for seventh among NHL rookies and tied for second-most among all Coyotes. This, with significantly fewer games played than many of his peers.

“We had some guys down, we needed some offense, he came in and just played desperate, tenacious hockey,” general manager John Chayka said. “He got to the net, scored some goals and brought some life to our group.”

The Coyotes drafted Garland in the fifth round (123rd overall) in the 2015 draft.

“I’ve been in Arizona since I’ve been 19, I’m turning 23 in a couple weeks here. So it feels like I’ve been here for a while. It’s starting to feel like home, I’m getting used to all the areas here and I love it here. That was a big part of it — I wanted to be here as long as possible.

“But obviously you grow up wanting to play in the NHL and when you do two and a half years in the ‘A’ [AHL] — it’s a hard league, it’s a grind — I feel pretty privileged. And I’m excited to be able to play for another two years and hopefully make it a lot more.”

The 22-year-old would’ve been a restricted free agent this offseason, but the Coyotes now have only five NHL RFAs to deal with this summer: Nick Cousins, Lawson Crouse, Josh Archibald, Ilya Lyubushkin and Nick Schmaltz.

“Conor has come onto our team and made an impact through his work ethic and willingness to get to the net and score goals,” Chayka said in a statement. “He’s a great success story for our organization as a later round pick and the development process he went through to get here. We’re thrilled to get him signed long-term.”

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