Some teams just always seem to make deals with each other. Many call the Los Angeles Kings the “Philadelphia Flyers West,” for example. It might be time to call the Vancouver Canucks “Florida Panthers North” because they perpetually add Cats to the mix. This one’s a big deal, too; Darren Dreger reports that the Canucks signed former Panthers defenseman Jason Garrison to a six-year, $27.6 million deal.
If you hate math like most hockey writers do, here’s the annual cap hit: $4.6 million.
A matter of perception
Many view Garrison’s deal as a “hometown discount.” Dan Hamhuis took a similar one for $4.5 million, as well, although others might make more parallels to the deal that brought (former Panther) Keith Ballard to the team for $4.2 million per season.
The most alarming part, to me, is the fact that Garrison could very well be a “contract year” guy. He’s an undrafted 27-year-old blueliner who’s in his third season of semi-regular action. He played one game in 2008-09, 39 in 2009-10 and then 73 in 2010-11 and 77 in 2011-12. His 33 points and wicked slap shot are no-doubt enticing, especially in a weak market for D, but the fact that he has such a small sample size of work at a fairly old age should raise some red flags.
Then again, the Canucks lost some depth on defense with Sami Salo and Aaron Rome leaving town, so Garrison ranks as more of a “need” than expected and could provide a considerable upgrade. In a summer where the team is probably going to roll the dice with Roberto Luongo and already did so by committing to Cory Schneider, this certainly fits the theme of bold moves. In fact, he could be an enormous upgrade if the talk about his strong defensive work is justified.
So will it work out or will Garrison be a hard-shooting sequel to Ballard?
Corey Perry will spearhead the leadership group looking to guide Canada to its second straight gold medal at the World Hockey Championships.
On Thursday, the Canadian contingent announced that Perry would captain the squad at this year’s tournament, to be held in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Joining him in the leadership group will be Colorado’s Matt Duchene, and Buffalo’s Ryan O'Reilly.
“This is an energetic young team, and these three players bring a mixture of youth and experience in their leadership role on the ice and in the dressing room,” Canadian head coach Bill Peters said, per the Toronto Sun. “Their resumes speak for themselves — they know what it takes to compete at the highest level, and have all been part of pulling together Team Canada successes during these short-term events.”
Unlike Duchene and O’Reilly, Perry wasn’t a part of last year’s championship team, but does have extensive international experience. He was part of the Canadian teams that captured gold at the ’10 Olympics in Vancouver at the ’14 games in Sochi.
He’s also played in a pair of World Championships, but failed to medal both times.
In just a few short months, Trevor Daley has gone from not being a fit in Chicago to being an indispensable part of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The veteran defenseman played almost 30 minutes last night, by far the most of any Penguin. Despite the absence of Kris Letang and Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh was able to beat the Capitals in overtime and take a 3-1 series lead back to Washington.
“It’s funny how this game works,” Daley said, per the Penguins’ website. “You stick with it and good things happen. I’m just grateful for the opportunity. I’m in a good place here. I’m enjoying it with a great group of guys. We just play. That’s been our motto since I got here, since (Mike Sullivan) got here – just play.”
Traded to Pittsburgh in December, with Rob Scuderi going to the Blackhawks, Daley’s strengths were immediately utilized by Sullivan. The Penguins’ new head coach came in emphasizing the importance of breakouts, and that suited Daley just fine.
“Over the years my game has been getting in the play, moving the puck,” Daley said after he was traded. “I’m not the biggest guy so I won’t push guys over. I get into areas quickly and try to be a good team guy.”
It was simply a good match. And for that, GM Jim Rutherford should be applauded. The Penguins are one game away from the Eastern Conference Final, and Daley is a big reason why.
Related: Penguins provided ‘fresh start’ for Daley
After not playing anywhere this year, longtime NHL blueliner Anton Volchenkov is back in action, having signed a deal with KHL club Admiral Vladivostok.
The deal, announced by Admiral on Thursday, puts Volchenkov back on a team for the first time since suiting up with Nashville during the ’14-15 campaign. He appeared in 46 games for the Preds, recording seven assists.
Prior to his time in Nashville, Volchenkov in over 600 games with the Senators and Devils. He’d established a reputation as a physical, hard-hitting d-man, but struggled with injury and mobility in the later stages of his time in New Jersey, and was ultimately bought out of his contract.
The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with two games on Thursday night. You can catch tonight’s action via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.
Dallas at St. Louis (8:00 p.m. ET)
The TV broadcast of Game 4 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Blues lead the series 2-1.
San Jose at Nashville (9:00 p.m. ET)
The TV broadcast of Game 4 will be on CNBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Sharks lead the series 2-1.
Here’s some relevant reading material to get you ready for tonight’s games:
—Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty
—Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires
—Preds smash Sharks in Game 3 to get back in series
—Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1