Editor’s note: We’re continuing our expansion draft profiles, and we’re getting to the home stretch. If you’ve missed any of our profiles, make sure to click here.
The Vegas Golden Knights swung a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning during the expansion draft, resulting in the selection of Jason Garrison.
Tampa Bay had to sweeten the pot and add prospect KHL scorer Nikita Gusev, a second- and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 and 2018 drafts, respectively.
Here's what the veteran defenseman brings to the Golden Knights.
The undrafted 6-foot-2 defender has built a heck of a career for himself over the years. The 32-year old Canadian opted out of his senior year at the University of Minnesota-Duluth to sign with the Florida Panthers.
He has always had good skating ability and on-ice awareness, which help him in the transition game, and he does so without sacrificing his defensive responsibilities. He's been a good power play teammate, as well.
Unfortunately, those abilities that made him a productive player are also ones that don't age well. Garrison has declined substantially over the past two seasons and his offensive production has all but dwindled to nothing.
Numbers, numbers, numbers
From 2011-2015 Garrison was a productive 5-v-5 defenseman with a Goals For percentage of 55.19 (39th out of 283 defensemen). He has a solid possession game with a 51.69 Corsi For percentage (ranked 79th).
The last two seasons have been less kind.
His 45.70 GF% is 168th out of 220 defenders, while his 49.40 CF% sits 122nd — a steep drop for someone who was once one of the better puck-moving defenders in the league.
His point totals have dropped, as well. Once a consistent 30-point scorer, he’s managed 20 combined points the last two seasons. He’s still a decent enough third-pairing guy. Unfortunately, he exists in a sea of other Golden Knights who are also third pairing guys.
Five years ago, getting Garrison would have been fantastic for an expansion team. Right now, it's more of a contract dump for his $4.6 million cap hit.
He can act as a mentor to the younger defensemen on the roster and play some adequate third-pairing minutes. Maybe Garrison will become a piece that can be traded at the deadline when his cap hit is lessened. Time will tell.