Jason Garrison: A Canuck Defenseman After All

Despite reports from earlier in the day that the Canucks had been "priced out" of the Jason Garrison bidding, it appears that the Mike Gillis has landed the highly coveted former Panther. Jason Garrison, a native of White Rock British Columbia, will help satisfy both the team’s need for a top-four defenseman, and placate those among us who possess raging Sea-to-Sky boners for any B.C. born defenseman. Here’s the official media release from Canucks.nhl.com.

Not only did Mike Gillis get one of the best defenseman on the market under contract, but he also managed to do so with a perfectly reasonable cap-hit, as per Darren Dreger:

The contract is worth 27.6 million over the next 6 seasons, for an average hit of 4.6 million. Consider that Sami Salo, who is 38 years old, scored 9 fewer goals than Garrison did last season, and has a medical record the length of the Nile will carry a cap-hit only 850k below Garrison’s that’s a big win for Mike Gillis. Or consider that Dennis Wideman will make well over 500k more than Garrison next season. Hilarious.

Click past the jump for more analysis.

Last season, Jason Garrison scored 16 goals, and added 17 assists while playing on Brian Campbell’s right-side. He shot a ludicrous 9.6% in the regular seasons – a totally unsustainable number – and for the most part his point production is a mirage. Before you let your imagination run wild, know this: Jason Garrison is not a "power-play quarterback" and he is not, in all likelihood, a guy who will regularly score 10 goals per season or put up forty points.

What he does do, however, is post terrific possession numbers while bringing a degree of versatility to the blueline, which, the Canucks have lacked over the past several seasons. In 2010/11 he played the left-side with Mike Weaver, they were tasked with Florida’s most difficult minutes, and they combined to form one of the best, under-rated shutdown defensive pairings in the NHL. This past season, he bumped over to play the right-side on a more offensively oriented defensive pairing with Brian Campbell – and he produced offense, while tilting the ice in Florida’s favour. In short, Garrison is a swiss army knife blueliner, who can do a little bit of everything, and he brings with him an absolute cannonade point shot for good measure.

I figured before the offseason that if you were going to "buy high" in free-agency, you could do significantly worse than Jason Garrison – a guy who at least posted excellent underlying numbers over the past two seasons, and who brings a lot of versatility to the roster. Mike Gillis didn’t just make a good bet today, he legitimately convinced Jason Garrison to sign for significantly below market value as well. This is just a massive, massive win for the Canucks, and their General Manager.

  • DCR

    He looks like a solid 20 pt defenceman if the previous two years can be trusted.

    That and 4.6 for six years isn’t too bad in this insane FA market. Add the fact that he can apparently play both sides and he’s a perfect fit for what the Nucks need.

  • DCR


    Canucks desperately need another minute eater who could play against tough competition, Garrison more than fits that role. He plays on both sides which is more ideal that people realize now. Every year, Canucks always in top 10 with man games lost to injury – we’ll see his full value then. It will be a bonus if he can put up some points.

    Welcome home BC boy!

    Schultz will be crying once he realizes he made a mistake 3 yrs down the road and EDM still has his rights. ha ha!!

  • DCR

    Thomas – How concerned are you that his game/reputation is based off playing for a (generally) sub par team?

    Is there a chance that he comes in with too high expectations (media and management) and ends up going the route of Ballard?

  • It’s possible, Ballard had posted excellent underlying numbers (and was more consistent offensively than Garrison) before coming to Vancouver as well.

    Ballard’s big issue is that AV is extremely strict with his third pairing guys – and Ballard is a risk/reward defenseman who has never fit in that role. If Ballard could play the right side, however, he’d have been able to bump up and play with Edler – for example – in a role more suited to his style. Because Ballard isn’t able to switch sides, and simply isn’t as good as either Edler or Hamhuis (no shame in that, both are top-20 NHL Dmen) – he’s stuck in a role he’s ill-suited for.

    Garrison on the other hand, will be able to play with Edler, or Hamhuis depending on what the team needs. As such, even if he takes a bit to adjust to the Western Conference (likely) he can be sheltered, and just tee up that slapper in relatively sheltered minutes with Edler. My guess is he’ll be fine, and that his versatility will help ensure that he doesn’t end up Keith Ballard 2.0.

  • I’m not sure how Garrison will fit on the PP. He worked well in FLA because they had Campbell quarterbacking from the left side, allowing his left hand shot to always be a threat. By contrast, Henrik Sedin QB’s the VAN PP from the right half boards, so that pretty much erases any chance for a one-timer from the point, unless Edler has the puck or Henrik sets up on the opposite side of the ice. This could allow PK’ing forwards to over-play the Sedins down low without worrying about a quick point shot. I just can’t see Garrison helping the 1st PP.

    That being said, Ehrhoff seemed to work with a LHS, and Garrison should be an upgrade in his own end at the very least. I hope he becomes Salo 2.0, but I think he’ll be closer to Willie Mitchell.

  • Thomas – thanks for the reply! Done a little more reading and it does seem that he’s a more consistent/balanced player.

    Not sure about all these concerns that he won’t get ‘fed the puck’ on the PP. We have some of the most dynamic passers in the league on our PP….I’m pretty sure they’ll be able to set up him.