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Canucks hand Jason Garrison a splashy six-year, $27.6M contract

Jul 1, 2012, 8:21 PM EST

Jason Garrison Getty Images

Some teams just always seem to make deals with each other. Many call the Los Angeles Kings the “Philadelphia Flyers West,” for example. It might be time to call the Vancouver Canucks “Florida Panthers North” because they perpetually add Cats to the mix. This one’s a big deal, too; Darren Dreger reports that the Canucks signed former Panthers defenseman Jason Garrison to a six-year, $27.6 million deal.

If you hate math like most hockey writers do, here’s the annual cap hit: $4.6 million.

A matter of perception

Many view Garrison’s deal as a “hometown discount.” Dan Hamhuis took a similar one for $4.5 million, as well, although others might make more parallels to the deal that brought (former Panther) Keith Ballard to the team for $4.2 million per season.

The most alarming part, to me, is the fact that Garrison could very well be a “contract year” guy. He’s an undrafted 27-year-old blueliner who’s in his third season of semi-regular action. He played one game in 2008-09, 39 in 2009-10 and then 73 in 2010-11 and 77 in 2011-12. His 33 points and wicked slap shot are no-doubt enticing, especially in a weak market for D, but the fact that he has such a small sample size of work at a fairly old age should raise some red flags.

Then again, the Canucks lost some depth on defense with Sami Salo and Aaron Rome leaving town, so Garrison ranks as more of a “need” than expected and could provide a considerable upgrade. In a summer where the team is probably going to roll the dice with Roberto Luongo and already did so by committing to Cory Schneider, this certainly fits the theme of bold moves. In fact, he could be an enormous upgrade if the talk about his strong defensive work is justified.

So will it work out or will Garrison be a hard-shooting sequel to Ballard?

  1. zaksyuk - Jul 1, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    1st, win!

    • zaksyuk - Jul 1, 2012 at 8:24 PM

      yea even on pht

  2. atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 1, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Loading up for yet another President’s trophy run, right Canucks fans? Who needs a Stanley Cup when you have a run of President’s Trophies won…

  3. darthhamel - Jul 1, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    Garrison has a career 25.9 ppg. Hamhuis has a career 28.8 ppg.

    Given his great year playing a shutdown role with Mike Weaver in the 10-11 season, it might be best to see him as a “Hamhuis” for Edler. That is a mobile 2-way defenceman who can soak up big minutes while stabilizing a more courageous/reckless D partner.

    It’s got Bieksa’s career back on track, maybe it will get Edler back into “elite defenceman” status.

    • darthhamel - Jul 1, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      Come to think of it Ballard-Tanev fits the same mold as a pairing. They’re obviously the least talented which is why they will be the 3rd pairing, but you can see a similar pattern where Ballard’s career was partially re-vitalized when he was paired with Tanev. Tanev was defensively responsible and could keep up with Ballard’s smooth skating.

  4. t16rich - Jul 1, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    According to Bob McKenzie, Garrison was offered the same money as Wideman, but chose Vancouver at less. Obviously ends up getting paid more then Wideman, but at an extra year and smaller cap hit. If that is true, then yeah it is a home town discount. I do think he is being overpaid, but so is almost everyone being signed right now.

  5. imaginesuperbowlwin - Jul 1, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Jason Garrison, former UMD BULLDOG!!!

    • hans2410 - Jul 1, 2012 at 10:36 PM

      BU-LL-DO-GS GOOOO BULLDOGS

  6. babar61 - Jul 1, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Ugh. I hope he pans out…in getting a little tired of Florida panther players.

  7. rsl22 - Jul 1, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    $4.6MM is not a hometown discount. That is a huge payday for a guy with exactly one year of solid NHL play on his resume.

    I understand he is younger, but that’s more than Salo, Souray, Kuba and Aucoin all got today. They may be older, but you know what you get with them. Garrison? Question marks a plenty.

    Free agent signings are a stupid way to build your team (and I’m not just saying that because the Caps big move was signing Joey Crabb).

    • ikillchicken - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:11 AM

      “Free agent signings are a stupid way to build your team”

      That’s fine in theory but what do you suggest the Canucks actually do? Should they draft a defenceman and then just wait 3-5 years for him to be ready? By then their window to win may be closed and right now they need another top 4 D-Man who can quarterback the powerplay.

      I agree that you can’t make a bad team great through free agency. You need to build your core through the draft. However, free agency must be used after you’ve got your core in place to add the missing pieces. Garrison is one of those missing pieces. Yeah, they over-payed for him, but they can afford to do that because they’ve already built a great and affordable core.

      • rsl22 - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:14 AM

        They should have spent their money on Matt Carle.

      • ikillchicken - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:47 AM

        Uh…what? You just said they shouldn’t build by signing free agents.

  8. blueblood86 - Jul 1, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    Big signing by Vancouver.
    And he’s better than Shultz.

  9. hitem396 - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    a little bit overpaid,(not actually overpaid but over-year) but in this thin D market, its ok. still young better than Ballard. Q is, can he handle his skill for the next 6yrs?

  10. blomfeld - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Salo, Mitchell, Jovo, Ohlund …

    It’s truly unbelievable how “callous and stupid” this Canuckle organization is. Just yesterday while our LA Kings are bringing comrade Penner back to the fold, the “good ole” Canucks are at it again putting a knife into the back of one of their most loyal and trusted defenders. Let it be known friends that this is “exactly” the reason why despite living here, I will “never” support or emotionally invest in this team. To me, the Canucks and their fans are nothing more than a bunch of “Judas’s” whom you should never trust or befriend !

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