With the signing of Filip Kuba earlier in the day on July 1, it signaled what most Florida Panthers fans had already known and feared: that Jason Garrison would not be in a Panthers sweater when the next season opened. At around 7:30 pm, it was confirmed when TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that Garrison had indeed agreed to a 6 year, $27.6 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks.
It’s a homecoming for Garrison, who is a White Rock, British Columbia and, obviously, it’s quite a substantial raise from the $700,000 he made last season. Reports are he turned down Dennis Wideman-type dollars (ie, crazy dollars) to play for less in his hometown province. In Garrison, the Canucks offset the loss of Sami Salo, who bolted to the Tampa Bay Lightning. His booming point shot will add to an already strong Canucks power play unit that was 5th in the league with a 19.8% conversion rate. And despite a relatively small sample size, he might be one of the more complete defensemen that was available in the open market. Smart and solid positionally on defense with that cannon of shot available on the other end. Whether he fully lives up the money and term on the contract remains to be seen but I don’t suspect that he’ll be called a free agent bust when it’s said and done.
While frustrating to see a big contributor leave Sunrise without compensation, six years is an eternity in hockey contracts so I don’t begrudge Dale Tallon for not making that level of commitment. And if there was an area that Panthers are strong in, it’s on the blue line as the signing of Kuba gives them at least eight viable options for six spots.
And if you’re a fan that’s going to begrudge Garrison for leaving, my advice to you is DON’T. As a “late-blooming” 27 year old, this is his time to get the big contract and the fact that he gets to do it in the province he grew up in has to make it all the more special for him. And when your hometown team is calling and wants you to stay until your 33 years old, you answer. He was a big factor in the success the Cats this past season and his contributions will be missed but, for a team with an internal budget, you can’t keep everyone.
Best of luck In Vancouver, Jason. Your contributions will be missed in Sunrise.
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