A little over a month ago, someone on the Canucks.com forums came to me with a suggestion for my next Top 5 video countdown. So because I should never take for granted that there are interested people out there actually reading this blog...
When Garrison first expressed interest in signing with Vancouver, quick YouTube searches city-wide determined that, simply put, the guy's got a shot. In fact, 13 of his 16 goals last season (or 81%) were scored à la Sami Salo (making the loss of said player to free agency a much easier pill to swallow). Without that particular asset, you can guarantee Gillis would not have made him the highest-paid defenceman on the team.
But as exciting as a howitzer from the point can be, no one seems to be paying any credence to his ability to jump into the rush, which is why I purposefully omitted any cut-and-dry slapshots from these five goals. This set of highlights showcases an underrated and doubtlessly valuable ability of Garrison's that should be fun to watch once his groin and the lockout have both resolved themselves.
Number five and four are both milestone goals and uncanny carbon copies of each other, while the last three coincidentally feature some sort of Canucks-related cameo appearance (no surprise, given that the Panthers and Canucks have a seemingly exclusive trading partnership with each other). In number three, Garrison takes a page out of the Sedins' book, deflecting a pseudo-slap pass into the slot while on a power play.¹ Number two sees him on a two-on-one with David Booth, while his buzzer-beating OT winner against Tampa Bay begins with a defensive play from former Canuck Mike Weaver.
A lot has been said about Brian Campbell playing a significant role in Garrison's breakout year. But whether he's pinching in or hanging back at the blueline, you can bet he'll have just as much space to work with on shifts with, oh let's say...the Sedins? That said, it'll be exciting to see what he'll be capable of as a Canuck.
¹ Though the goal was announced in the play-by-play as a record-breaker for powerplay goals by a Florida defenceman, if you pay close attention, the penalty had ended by just a second. Rather than 10 powerplay goals, Garrison was left with 9 on the season, tying him with former Panthers Jay Bouwmeester (2008-09) and Gord Murphy (1993-94).
*See the online discussion regarding this article on the Canucks.com forums here.