Thursday, July 5, 2012

Canucks Sign Jason Garrison to Six Year, 27 Million

Mike Gillis wasted no time trying to fill the missing pieces from the Canucks 2012 team that won the Presidents Trophy but were ousted by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions the L.A. Kings. On July 1st, the first day that Unrestricted Free Agents were allowed to sign with another club, Gillis made a splash when he signed defensemen Jason Garrison on a 6 year 27 million dollar contract.

Garrison, who played with the Florida Panthers last year, had a great year tallying 16 goals while adding 17 assists. Garrison is only 27 and was undrafted. The White Rock B.C. native has had a long road to the NHL. He has made stops along the way in the BCHL, NCAA, and AHL before being a part of the Florida Panthers during the 2008-09 season.

Garrison will help mostly on the offensive end. He is an offensive defensemen that will certainly help the Canucks power play, which was pitiful from January on. Garrison will also help on the defensive end. He is a career +9 player, which is a really good +/- stat to have. Having a good +/- means that he is an important player to have on the ice when the team is winning in the third period.

Furthermore, Garrison averaged 23 minutes of ice time last year. This should help the Canucks on their depth chart, as they won’t be leaning as heavily on Bieska and Hanhuis in key situations. Despite having a good seven or eight defensemen under contract, the Canucks last year really only had three defensemen they could go to during crunch time. With the departure of Sami Salo, the Canucks needed a defensemen that could fill the holes that Salo will leave.

Garrison could be the guy to replace Salo on the blue line. Even though Salo was injured a lot of the time, he was an important player for the Canucks. His hard shot when he was healthy was a very tough shot to stop at times. Garrison has the makings of delivering what Salo brought in previous seasons.

In addition, the Canucks have lost three key defensemen in the past four seasons. In 2009 Mattias Öhlund left for Tampa Bay, in 2011 it was Christian Ehrhoff’s turn to get a pay raise and headed to buffalo. Each of the previous two times the Canucks were still a threat in the Western Conference the next year. If Garrison has a good year next year, the Canucks will surely make it three times in a row.

Personally, this was a risk worth taking for the Canucks. Vancouver may have improved their team while also getting younger. The Canucks couldn’t afford missing out on signing a defensemen this summer. The only question remains is if he signed the right one. Just watch, if Garrison turns out to be a bust, the Canucks fans will want Gillis fired faster than he can say “I tried”. In contrast, if Garrison is on the team that wins the Stanley Cup, Gillis will be considered amazing. Just remember, this signing was worth it, even though it’s a bit of an expensive price to pay. 

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