Who is this guy?
Name: Jason Garrison
Born: November 13, 1984 in White Rock, BC.
History: After playing two seasons with the Nanaimo Clippers of the British Columbia Hockey League, Garrison earned an athletic scholarship at the University of Minnesota Deluth. Garrison chose to pass up on his senior season after being offered a contract by the Florida Panthers in 2008. Garrison spent four years in the Panthers' organization before signing a 6-year, $27 million contract with the Canucks in 2012.
What did he do?
For starters, Garrison always made his presence known on the ice. Think of that scene from the second mighty Ducks movie when Fulton Reed gets the puck during a practice, and all his teammates frantically skate out of harm's way as he sends a blistering slap shot towards net. NHL players might be too tough to do that, but it certainly crossed their mind as a better idea than blocking one of his shots, which likely ended with a lower body injury for whatever poor soul stepped in front of one of Garrison's slap shots. Heck, a number of those shots even found the night as Garrison's seven goals this year were tied for the most by a Canuck's defensemen this year. Alex Edler also had seven goals. Garrison also had a career-high 26 assists and tied a career high for points with 33. Almost half of his assists came on the power play, an area that the Canucks needed all the help they could get this year. Garrison also played in 81 games which was a new career high for the defenseman. Garrison wasn't afraid to blast the puck on net either as his 181 shots ranked fourth on the team behind Ryan Kesler, Daniel Sedin and Chris Higgins.
Was he any good?
This is kind of a loaded question for the most part as it was a rough year statistically for the Canucks, but Garrison seemed to do just fine for himself this season, numbers wise. He was perhaps the most reliable defenseman for Vancouver, and his 26 assists certainly helped, especially with 11 of those coming on the power play. Unfortunately, Garrison's production fell flat in the final month of the season as his assist in the season finale versus Calgary was his first point in 12 games. Sprinkle some assists in there and it's likely he would have found himself second only to Henrik Sedin for assists on the team. Garrison had another cold streak at the start of the season, going 14 games without a point in October. He was streaky, but still found ways to effectively contribute.
What'd we like?
Well, for starters, this signature Garrison slap shot on the power play, which also happened to be the Canucks' first goal of the season.
Less than a week later, Garrison scored a game-winning goal in OT against Cory Schneider and the Devils.
He can even score while "outdoors," as seen here from the Winter Classic against the Senators.
How about this nifty one-timer against the Senators? Even better, it was on the power play!
And let's not forget that Garrison was involved in the infamous line brawl against Calgary. At least he didn't try to storm their locker room and fight the team. I mean seriously, who would do something like that?
Cool. So what did we hate?
While Garrison put up some of the best numbers of his career, he was streaky and inconsistent at times this year. As mentioned above, he had two streaks of 10 or more games without a point. Garrison got off to a blistering start with nine points in his first 10 games before going 14 games in a row without a point. He then heated up again with 13 points in 10 games. While the bursts of production helped Garrison to one of the best years of his career numbers wise, he just fell off the map after that last streak, which was capped with three assists against the Oilers on December 13. After that game, Garrison tallied just 11 points in the final four months of the season. He sprinted to the top of the cliff, only to fall right off the edge. Garrison ended the year recording just one point in the season finale. Had it not been for his assist against Calgary, Garrison would've ended the year with 13 straight games without recording a point.
So what now?
The Canucks invested a lot of money in Garrison, and he put up some career numbers this year. He still has four years left on his deal with the Canucks. However, that doesn't mean he's guaranteed to stick around. Vancouver's GM to be named later could choose the buyout route if the Canucks decide to enter a rebuilding phase with this team. Should a guy who was so inconsistent this year be worth $27 million to the franchise? No. But I don't think they should send him off so quickly. Yes, he struggled in the last half of the season, but I still believe he has some value to this team, so I think we'll see him return. He'll be hungry to get back to putting up the numbers he was at the beginning of the season when he was racking up points seemingly at will. If he can get back to that level of production, he'll be worth every penny to the Canucks.