31-Year-Old Defenseman – Tampa Bay Lightning
Jason Garrison Contract Information:
Signed a six-year, $27.6 million contract with Vancouver in July 2012. Traded to the Lightning in June 2014.
Garrison provided the game-winner in overtime Friday as Tampa beat the Islanders 2-1 in Game 4.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Garrison is a great fit in Tampa Bay, but that doesnít make him a great fit on a lot of fantasy rosters. Heís not great in possession, but he plays a low-risk game that minimizes mistakes. Heís a capable shooter on the second-unit power play, but remember this -- heís only potted 19 goals, including eight on the man advantage, in his last three seasons. Thatís after that 16-goal (nine on the power-play) effort in a single season back in 2011-12. His value is limited, so draft Garrison as a 30-point defender who will get about a third of those with the man advantage. At this stage of his career, he's mostly a deep-league consideration.
Garrison's game died when it went to Canada's west coast, and the goals dried up along with his confidence. Sure, he matched his career-best in points (33) last season, but the Canucks never did figure out how to let him tee up one-timers with the man advantage. Enter Tampa Bay and a power play that's now missing Martin St. Louis, and Garrison's game could easily return. Watch him carefully in camp and bump him up your cheat sheet if he wins that first-unit power-play position. You'll be rewarded with a bounty of shots to go with 50 PIM and 100-plus hits and blocked shots apiece. Maybe he just didn't like all the rain in Vancouver -- the St. Petersburg beach will be a much better fit.
Garrison signed a lucrative deal with the Canucks following his breakout campaign with the Panthers in 2011-12. He started off his first season in Vancouver very slowly and looked like a potential bust, but as the season wore on, he started to show flashes of the player Vancouver expected when they signed him. Garrison finished the season with 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) and a career-best plus-18 rating. The point totals for the 29-year-old blueliner wonít be as high as other top notch defensmen, but he has the ability to find the back of the net with more regularity than many other blueliners who may cost more on draft day.
After posting a breakout campaign with the Panthers in 2011-12, Garrison was the Canucksí biggest prize in free agency this past summer. Garrison came out of the blue last season to post career highs in goals (16) and assists (17) while seeing over 23 minutes of ice time. Most of his damage came on the power play, as he netted nine power-play markers to finish second in the league amongst defensemen. The Canucks will deploy Garrison in a similar top-four role this season, where they hope his booming slapslot will once again find the back of the net with regularity.
A free-agent signing out of Minnesota-Duluth, Garrison posted 35 points to lead Rochesterís defensemen in scoring last season. Heís a little more polished than prospect Keaton Ellerby since heís four years older, but that may also make him a little easier to plug into the NHL lineup occasionally. There's even a chance he'll make the team out of camp, but don't expect notable fantasy contributions in 09-10.
Garrison is big (6-2, 220) and fits the bill as a puck-moving defenseman, but he isn't destined for the NHL just yet. Expect him to have a solid season in AHL Rochester, though.