Today I decided to profile UFA defenceman Jason Garrison. There was a lot of buzz at the end of the Stanley Cup finals when Garrison said he would love to be a Vancouver Canuck. Without going balls out and getting the Orca tattooed on him, Garrison will patiently wait until July 1st to see if his boyhood dream will be come a reality.
Name: Jason Garrison
Size: 6’2″, 220 Lbs
Why the Canucks might want him: You can’t have too many defensemen with a nice hard shot like Garrison’s. Of his 16 goals last season, 9 of them were power play goals. He’s a big body who skates and handles the puck well. He contributes offensively without becoming a defensive liability. He can generate scoring chances and can quarterback the second power play unit. Another thing is that he can log some big minutes; last year in Florida he was averaging almost 24 minutes per game. The year before in 2010-2011 he was around 22 per game. He’s also a local boy who might be willing to take less to play closer to home. Ah, the old hometown discount.
Why the Canucks might not want him: Garrison’s biggest knock has been his lack of physical play, especially for someone of his size. Also, at 27, there isn’t a lot of room for growth as there would be with a prospect. It’s also going to be hard to get past is his expected raise. There have been reports that Garrison is seeking as much as $5 million per season. A huge pay hike from the $675,000 cap hit he had the past two seasons. He may not be willing to take that hometown discount I mentioned earlier, and there’s also the risk that this past season was a fluke. You don’t want to chance paying out $5 million per season to someone who isn’t earning it, especially with Keith Ballard on the roster, there isn’t really room to add a defenseman at that price.
What I would do: If Garrison is willing to take significantly less to play closer to home then I would offer him a 3 year deal worth $3.75 per year. It’s significantly less than he would fetch on the open market, but in my opinion it’s a fair price. Of course all of this hinges on a few things. The potential departure of Keith Ballard, Sami Salo not coming back and Justin Schultz not choosing the Canucks. If Schultz doesn’t sign and Ballard is able to be moved, then this there’s room for him. But with the way things are now, something would have to give, including his asking price, if Jason Garrison is to be a Vancouver Canuck on July 1st.
X-Factor: If Garrison comes in at a fair price and is looking to play somewhere that he has a chance of winning and having more than 9 ticket buying fans and the players girlfriends, kids and wives in the crowd, Vancouver would be a solid choice