March 19 2012 05:07PM
It is probably dreaming in technicolor. However, if the Edmonton Oilers can sign Jason Garrison as an unrestricted free agent July 1, our friend math suggests there should be dancing in the streets.
Jason Garrison is a 27-year old NHL defenseman with less than 200 games in the best league in the world. He makes $675,000 (cap hit) and he is a free agent at the end of the season. He's 6.02, 214 and along with Mike Weaver is delivering some of the most insane defense available in the NHL this season. Weaver--who makes a million--may be Garrison's equal or even the better plan but at this point the Oilers can't afford to pass on making a strong bid on Garrison.
There is risk with this player. He's about to get a major payday based on one season (well, two) and we know that when it comes to defensemen there is no guarantee against injury or sudden bouts of poor play.
Garrison is a pretty safe UFA, though. Young, two plus seasons of quality play, size and a nice range of skills.
HOW DOES FLORIDA USE HIM?
Garrison gets easier zone starts and plays the 2nd move EV minutes on the club. Interesting to see Weaver--signed for two more years after this one at just over 1M a season--getting the highest mountain on the team.
Weaver, Garrison, Kulikov and Campbell are facing the tough music for the Panters this season. Notice that Edi Jovanoski is facing the soft parade, even softer than youngsters Ellerby and Gudbranson. If that Jovo contract makes signing Garrison difficult, the GM should be answering some tough questions.
The puck is heading in a wonderful direction with Garrison on the ice, Campbell too. A quick note on Weaver: his Corsi Rel is a team worst among Panther defenders, but that's some tough sledding as shown in the two charts above. How Weaver ended up +2 (his current plus minus) is a mystery.
TOI AND OFFENSE
- EV: 18:27 a game, 6-11-17
- PP: 2:27 a game, 9-2-11
- PK: 2:41 a game, 0-1-1
As you can see, Garrison is being used in all three disciplines and has been successful on the PP (9 goals with the man advantage leads all NHL defensemen this season). By the way, Garrison and Weaver have been doing this for some time, as our friend Jonathan Willis noted months ago.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The Edmonton Oilers are looking at adding a quality NHL defenseman who can impact the game in all three disciplines. The Oilers wouldn't have to trade the 2nd overall pick, or Sam Gagner, or any collection of picks and prospects.
It would cost a lot of money. However, the Oilers have $22M in cap room for next season with only Sam Gagner, Jeff Petry and Devan Dubnyk to sign among worthy rfa's and only Ryan Smyth and Lennart Petrell left among the unrestricted free agents.
Signing Jason Garrison would be a solid move. He is having a career season but has been consistent over two full seasons now and is young enough to be a part of this young Oiler team for several years before decline.
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