Though not a household name, Ryan Garbutt has firmly established himself as one of the NHL’s most reckless and oft-punished players.
And now, his boss has seen enough.
“He’s got to stop. He knows he has to change his game,” Stars GM Jim Nill said, per the Dallas Morning-News. “The message to Ryan is he’s too valuable. I know he plays hard, he plays on the edge, but some of the things, he doesn’t need to do them.
“It’s got to end. He’s too valuable to the team, we need him on the ice.”
On Thursday, Garbutt was suspended three games for slew-footing Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien — Garbutt’s second suspension of the year (he received two games in November for kneeing Edmonton’s Taylor Hall). All told, Garbutt has been suspended 10 games over the last two seasons and was also fined during last year’s playoffs for spearing Anaheim’s Corey Perry in the groin.
Nill acknowledged that anything Garbutt does now registers a huge blip on the Department of Player Safety’s radar, and said the 29-year-old forward will have to adjust his game accordingly.
“You gotta learn,” Nill explained. “There are other players who play like him in the league, but they’re not getting the phone calls. That’s what he has to find, he has to find that fine line.
“The part he needs to understand is he’s got more skills than he realizes, so use those skills to your advantage. And he’s going to get it, he’ll figure it out.”