2011 Cap HIt: $675,000
Strengths: Shot. Jason Garrison has an absolute cannon, its hard, its fast is accurate and it scores. His 168 shots on goal would have led all Avs defensemen and his 9.5% shooting percentage is high for a d-man, but not unreasonably so. Garrison's game doesnt end at his 16 goals from the point though, he's got a decent defensive game and plays a slightly more physical brand of hockey. Garrison's 127 hits this season rank 6th on the Avs (4th among defensemen) ahead of Erik Johnson and Cody McLeod's 123 and just trailing Shane O`Brien's 138. Widely regarded as a goal scoring defenseman, Garrison claims that he's really a D-first kind of guy:
"For me, it's all about defence," Garrison recently told NHLPA.com. "The first order of business is to do what I have to do in my end. If i can move the puck out of our zone by delivering a solid pass or being physical down low, then I feel as though I'm doing my job." -NHLPA
Weaknesses: Consistency is a really big one here. Garrison's 16 goals from the point in 2012 are impressive, and his big shot is sure to help any team's power play, but he's only put up those numbers once in his short NHL career. 2 seasons ago Garrison scored only 5 goals and 18 points and the season before that he scored just 2 goals in 39 games. Garrison's 9.5% shooting percentage is a career high and could indicate that whichever team signs him is in for a serious let down in 2013.
Contract: Litter Box Cats hits the nail on the head here with their latest story: Ja$on Garri$on: Kajillionaire, courtesy of Flames' Feaster. Rumour has it that Garrison is pushing for a $4-4.5M dollar deal on a multi-year contract. A week ago, that would have been a stretch for such an unproven young defenseman, but after the Dennis Wideman deal, he may get all that and a No Trade Clause.
Why it Works: A few weeks ago Garrison looked like a guy who could bring some offense to Colorado's blue line and power play, but with the Avalanche's crowded defense and Garrison's rising price he doesn't look like such a great fit anymore. If Greg Sherman feels the need to shake up the blue line with a trade, however, Garrison could potentially bring some much needed offense to the Avalanche.
My Take: Feaster ruined this one for me. Garrison under $4M could have been a nice fit here but at this point I'd rather see him break just the bank on Carle or Suter or ice the same guys as last year. Signing some risky tweener seems like a waste to me, time to go big or go home Sherman.