Numbers Game: Canucks land defenceman Garrison

Scott Cullen
7/1/2012 11:51:15 PM
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The Vancouver Canucks signed a top-four defenceman who has fewer than three years of NHL experience, but was good enough to earn a six-year contract.

Numbers Game breaks down the Canucks signing hometown boy Jason Garrison.

The Canucks Get: D Jason Garrison.

Garrison, 27, has played 190 career NHL games, but really came into his own this past season, scoring a career-high 16 goals, 33 points and a plus-6 rating while playing a career-high 23:42 per game.

Those numbers are impressive enough -- 16 goals ranked third among all defencemen -- but Garrison is more than just a big blast from the point, facing a consistently high quality of competition over the last two seasons in Florida (per

In fact, given Garrison's limited offensive pedigree before 2011-2012 (going back to his days at Minnesota-Duluth, when he was an unheralded teammate of Canucks winger Mason Raymond), it's more reasonable to expect that Garrison will be a reliable two-way top-four defenceman that should contribute some on the power play too, even if expecting another 16-goal season could be optimistic.

Since Vancouver's Sami Salo signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent earlier in the day, there is a natural opening for Garrison to play alongside Alexander Edler while Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa remain the Canucks' primary shutdown pair, so Garrison may actually face a lower level of even-strength competition on a consistent basis than he was typically facing in Florida.

Vancouver had to make a significant investment to get Garrison signed and a six-year deal comes with inherent risk, but the yearly cap hit of $4.6-million is reasonable enough if Garrison fulfills his anticipated top-four role.

Losing Garrison creates a hole for the Panthers that they attempted to address by signing Filip Kuba from the Ottawa Senators. Kuba certainly has a longer track record, but the 35-year-old is also at a different stage of his career, requiring a shorter-term investment.

Maybe Garrison won't live up to his deal in Vancouver (Keith Ballard was certainly more effective playing in Florida), but given the options on a relatively thin free agent market, Vancouver made a move that gives them a better chance to win both now and in the years to come.

Scott Cullen can be reached at and followed on Twitter at For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

Jason Garrison (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)


(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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