GLENDALE – Coyotes prospect Conor Garland is the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scoring champ for a second consecutive season in landslide fashion.
Garland, a 5-foot-8 right winger who plays for the Moncton Wildcats, finished the regular season with 128 points in 62 games. He scored 39 goals and served up a league-best 89 assists. The runner-up finished 20 points behind him.
“It was a good year,” said Garland, who missed six games while attending Coyotes Rookie Camp in September. “I got a lot better as a player. I took all of the lessons I learned at Coyotes camp and became a better 200-foot player and closer to a pro player this year. I think I took a big step forward.”
Garland’s only regret is he finished with 97 penalty minutes, just three shy of 100.
“That would have really capped off the season,” he joked.
Arizona selected Garland with the 123rd overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and signed him to an entry-level contract on Dec. 23. He attended last summer’s Prospect Development Camp and then training camp with other rookies. He says both experiences served him well.
The Coyotes agree.
“Conor is having another terrific season,” Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said. “Not only did he lead the QMJHL in scoring for the second straight year, he was the highest scoring player in the entire Canadian Hockey League. Aside from scoring, he has worked hard to improve his game without the puck as well. We’re happy with his game at this time and look forward to his continual development.”
In addition to leading the league in scoring, Garland set a Moncton franchise record for most career points with 328 over four seasons, beating the previous record set by Sebastien Roger (326) set in the mid 1990s.
“I’ve played for Moncton forever so to have that record is very nice,” Garland said. “I reached it in the second-to-last game so it was an exciting moment and something I can look back on when I’m older and be proud of.”
Garland credits linemates Manuel Wiederer and Cameron Askew for helping him notch so many points this season. The trio combined to produce 257 points (100 goals, 157 assists).
“I got to play with two great players and it was easy getting 89 assists with them,” Garland said.
Garland is hoping to help Moncton go deep in the QMJHL playoffs, which start this weekend.
“The league is so tough this year,” Garland said. “There are eight teams that are just unbelievable and we’re one of them… We’re an older team and this year it’s win or bust for us. We’re all really, really excited for the playoffs.”
Garland also led the QMJHL in scoring last season with 129 points (35 goals, 94 assists) in 67 games.