For you point about Garrison being a one hit wonder: Former Panthers defenceman could not pass up chance to play for hometown club
The chance to play at home was too good for Jason Garrison to pass up.
The new Vancouver Canucks defenceman had a chance to sign for bigger dollars elsewhere, but he opted to join the NHL club that he grew up watching instead.
"I don't think you should take anything for granted," Garrison said Monday on a conference call. "I really look forward to playing in Vancouver. That's where I'm from, and it's definitely something I'm really excited about, and I can't wait for it to start."
Garrison was speaking a day after the Canucks signed the former Florida Panther to a six-year contract worth an average of US$4.6 million a season. Garrison hails from the oceanside Vancouver-area community of White Rock, B.C. He joins the Canucks after four seasons with the Panthers organization, where he emerged as a 23-minutes-per-game defenceman.
Garrison, 27, recorded 16 goals—a new Panthers club record for defencemen—and 17 assists for 33 points in 77 games with Florida last season. He also compiled a modest 32 penalty minutes.
The six-foot-two, 220-pound former University of Minnesota-Duluth rearguard added a goal and two assists in the playoffs.
Even if 16 goals is the high of his career, he's certainly capable of a fair portion of that, and teams were willing to offer more to get him. He played a physical game, and had very good shutdown stats in his own end the past two seasons.
Another point in his favour is he ony had 32 penalty minutes last season. Bieksa, Ballard, Hamhuis, Rome, Alberts and Edler all had more, so Garrison fits the bill of a responsible defender as well, similar to Salo's cerebral play. Playing without Campbell and paired with Mike Weaver as the Panthers leading shutdown pair the season prior, he only had 26 penalty minutes.
His contract is only $600K above Tom Gilbert's, whose deal was signed 4 years ago when the cap was lower. Joni Pitkanen and Marc Giordano have both taken similar deals but staying with their current teams rather than in free agency and are around the same age. All have more years of offensive production, granted, yet so does Matt Carle, and he earned $5.5M in a 6 year deal this year in free agency with Tampa. His deal is more suggestive of what the market will bear for free agents and Garrison got less.
And from my earlier post: The Orca Defence Corp: Analyzing the Vancouver Canucks’ Blueline
While the loss of Salo will be a blow for the Vancouver team, a top 4 defensive unit of Kevin Bieksa, Dan Hamhuis, Alex Edler and the newly acquired Jason Garrison looks as good as any top 4 group currently in the NHL today. While the Canucks do not have a franchise defenseman such as Shea Weber or Zdeno Chara, they do have a solid top four which in true Mike Gillis style, not one player has a cap hit over $4.6 million a season.
Whether Hamhuis and Bieksa stay as the top pairing remains to be seen but it seems the combination of left sided defenseman Alex Edler and Jason Garrison, who has the ability to play both left and right, will at least start the season on the same line. Edler and Garrison will both be expected to lead the defensive point production and see plenty of power-play time, with both coming off record points seasons, Edler registering 11 goals and 49 points and Garrison with 16 goals and 33 points last regular season.
Weber took his entitlement to a larger deal rather than come play near home after a year, or ask for a trade from Nashville rather than pursue an offer sheet, which he could have chosen to do.
You spoke about what accepting deals that the market would bear, and Garrison accept less than the market would bear to play where he wanted.
But then I'm stepping on the next point.