I like this move. Do you?
Just when it looked on Sunday, July 1st as though Vancouver would be celebrating Canada Day and NHL Free Agency in a very low key way, a big bottle of Crown Royal was broken out late on with the signing of defenceman Jason Garrison from the Florida Panthers.
(They are of course officially the exclusive supplier of Vancouver Canucks players for the past ten years or so).
The big blue liner is a native of beach community White Rock, BC, west of Vancouver and reports suggest that he may have left some money on the table for the opportunity to sign with his home province team.
So, is it a good move or not?
Let’s take a look at possible pros and cons for you the reader to consider.
Garrison has shown impressive determination in his hockey journey to date. He did not make major junior, and settled instead for hockey in the lower level BCHL with the Nanaimo Clippers, then went undrafted in his year of eligibility, and opted to take the US college route, joining the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
He eventually earned an entry level contract with the Florida Panthers.
He prides himself on his two way playand his numbers are notable for 2011/12 with 33 points in 77 games (including 16 goals that is a record for a Florida defender). The goals total additionally encompasses 9 power play markers, which is significant for a team that needs power play support.
Garrison also managed a +6 rating while limiting himself to a respectable 32 penalty minutes.
The newest Canuck also brings size with a 6’ 2” frame that packs a solid 220 lbs that can hit and stand up opposition forwards.
Lack of Experience
Garrison has less than three full years of playing time leading to a fair inexperience factor in the NHL. While he did have 16 goals last regular season, his previous best year was a mere 5 goals.
Hopefully, last season was not just a flash in the pan.
The large new contract ($27.6 million over 6 years) brings a certain amount of pressure on the newbie, which could be compounded by the burden of attempting to perform well in his hometown.
The media glare is several million watts dimmer in Florida too, and it will be revealing to see how Garrison handles it in the seething cauldron of Vancouver Canucks fandom with its suffocating media attention (NWSB excepted of course).
With Garrison apparently planned to pair with Alex Edler, will he be able to find chemistry with the error prone Edler (who had one of the most frustrating seasons to date by a Canucks premier talent)?
Over to you readers: Where do you stand on the Garrison signing?