This sort of black magic may be of interest to some.
I had initially written up a post about the rumblings that were coming from Bob McKenzie earlier today regarding interest both the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning had shown in Jason Garrison. The article was set to run just a few minutes before the news of the trading of Ryan Kesler came out, so we shelved it for the time being(*).
(*) Roughly an hour or so, because that’s exactly how long it took for the Canucks to announce their second trade of the day. A day that’s still quite young, remember.
This is essentially a straight salary dump for the Canucks. Garrison had himself a woeful campaign last season, and more importantly, there are still prevailing health-related concerns with him moving forward. His name was one that I had brought up as a potential compliance buyout candidate a while back; mostly because there had been rampant speculation that he wouldn’t be willing to waive his NMC to leave a place that he took a hometown discount to initially come to.
With all of the flaws, it’s easy to see why the Lightning would be interested in his services. He has a cannon of a shot, and despite everything that went wrong for him and the Canucks he still wound up as a top-40 point getter amongst NHL defensemen last season. With Sami Salo becoming an unrestricted free agent in a few days, I imagine Garrison will slot in on the power play in his stead. Stevie Y is probably viewing this as a buy low opportunity on a guy that was in a terrible situation last year; maybe getting back to Florida and having less of an emphasis placed on him as a weapon on the man advantage will do him some good.
For the Canucks, this move opens up a more secure spot in the lineup for Franklin Corrado and gives them a whole lot of cap space — they’re 12th in terms of in terms of cap space heading into July 1st. The problem, though, is that attempting to build a winning team through the unrestricted free agent market is generally a losing proposition. That’s only augmented by the noticeably low level of high-end talent up for grabs. Spending money just for the sake of spending money because it’s burning a whole in your pocket is a recipe for all sorts of trouble.
Anyways, the larger point is that the Canucks appear to have a desire to make some grander scale changes with a group of players that’s gotten stale over the years, and could have the flexibility to accomplish that if they so chose. These past two moves likely signal the embrace for this change by the front office, which is both exciting and frightening; maybe moreso the latter, based on how things have gone for this franchise in recent years.
We could potentially look back to today as a good start to a rebuild that inevitably needed to be done, if only to avoid becoming the next Calgary Flames. Everyone in the front office deserves a break from all of this hard work — preferably to a remote location that doesn’t have any sort of cell service and keeps them away from civilization through the first week of July.