It's never fun to see your warriors sunset in other locales, so before we begin heaping praise on Jason Garrison (more on that shortly) we absolutely need to show some love to the departing Sami Salo who is taking his talents - like Mattias Ohlund before him - to Tampa Bay. Based on the initial reports Salo sounds happy for the change of scenery and some new responsibilities.
The comedic list of his injuries aside (though that surely played a role in why GMMG didn't want to give him a two year deal) Salo has been a constant presence on the Vancouver blueline for almost a decade, playing in front of everyone from Dan Cloutier to Bob Essena to Roberto Luongo. He's played alongside everyone from Murry Baron to Chris Tanev. Over his nine seasons in Vancouver he contributed 74 goals and 236 points, good enough for #28 on the franchise leaderboard. 48 of those goals came on the man advantage, making Salo the highest defensive PPG producer in team history.
But aside from the numbers is the simple fact Salo was a solid defenseman, often making his team better in the process (see his testicular fortitude against Chicago in 2010 as an example). His Corsi has annually been one of the best on the team and his presence both on and off the ice will be missed. When Jovo, Mitchell and Ohlund all departed over time, Salo has been there as the big body across the blueline. Pure and simple, the dude's a warrior.
One of my happiest hockey moments in person was watching Vancouver outlast San Jose in game four of the third round of the 2011 playoffs. On that string of 5-on-3's San Jose gifted the Canucks, I remember seeing Salo pinch and Hank found him for a goal that Niemi didn't have a prayer to stop. I think I may have leapt over the guy to my right in celebration.
Good luck in your next chapter Mr. Salo.