BC kid Jason Garrison did an interview with News1130 yesterday where he mentioned how much of a “dream come true” it would be to play for the Canucks. But just because Garrison has gone on record saying he wants to play in Vancouver doesn’t guarantee the 16 goal scoring defenseman will be in town come September. On the flip side, it can’t be ruled out either as he does play for the Canucks’ second farm team, the Florida Panthers.
First things first, here is a quick tweet breakdown of what Garrison had to say (courtesy of News1130):
Now on to the nitty gritty. Garrison is a left handed defenseman with an absolute rocket of a slapshot and a hefty 16 goals on the season. At 27 years old, 6 foot 1, 220 pounds, and dashingly handsome, he is a serious package for the Canucks to consider in the offseason. Garrison is a free agency highlight for the Canucks, who will be looking to fill a gaping hole on their blue line in terms of offense while not breaking the bank (this goes double should Sami Salo retire). If The Canucks do acquire Garrison, he would be the only player on the roster from within the city limits – although that most likely won’t stop Vancouverites from raining hate on him if he doesn’t live up to expectations.
Even though he has blue and green in his blood (and a little bit of it twinkling in his eyes. Seriously. He is really good looking), there are still reasons to be hesitant about a player like Garrison. First and foremost, he plays for Florida. The Canucks’ trade history with the Panthers has been iffy at best lately – Granted Luongo was a fantastic pick-up, but more recently Booth and Ballard have been very expensive science experiments gone wrong. Yes I know this mentality is akin to eating two pieces of chicken on seperate occasions, getting sick twice, and then swearing it off altogether, but at some point you have to just try something different for a while. Like duck. Or Lamb. Alright we’re getting sidetracked, back to hockey.
It is also important to mention that Garrison plays on a team employing a very different brand of hockey than the Canucks. It is hard to gauge how he would mix with different members of the Canucks or in a different role; even if he is fully capable of playing a more defensive style of hockey, he wouldn’t be the first player that didn’t quite fit in Vancouver. This doesn’t mean the Canucks pass on him, but it’s definitely something to be wary of.
The other side of the Florida coin is how players react to moving into more serious spotlight markets – you don’t have to look much further than Vokoun in Washington or Ballard and Booth to see a Florida player melt under pressure. Even though there is no guarantee about how Garrison would play here, him being a local means he has an understanding of the fans that inhabit Vancouver and the expectations should he lace up as a Canuck.
As for his price tag, Garrison is currently making $675 k, but becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. If teams see him as a hot commodity, he could very well hit the $3.5 million mark – goal scoring defensemen are few and far between, let alone 27 year old ones with stunning jaw lines. On the other hand, teams may be a bit more weary of throwing big bucks around at the free agency market because of letdowns from last year, namely Ilya Bryzgalov, Ville Leino, and Christian Ehrhoff. If the Canucks can cash in on a home team discount and other teams don’t try and turn it into a bidding war, there is no reason to believe Garrison couldn’t end up in Vancouver come next season.
At the end of the day, what it really comes down to is just how bad Garrison wants to play for the Canucks. Garrison entered the league undrafted and this is his big chance to sign a hard earned multi-million dollar contract. Unless the Canucks can at least get close to the top offer on the bargaining table, playing in his hometown probably won’t end up meaning that much to him if he has to take a serious paycut in the process.