Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Florida Panthers Facebook Florida Panthers Twitter Florida Panthers Google+ Florida Panthers Pintrest Florida Panthers Instagram Florida Panthers
Features

Garrison's Offense An Unexpected Surprise For Cats

Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 2:49 PM / Features
By Alain Poupart  - NHL.com Correspondent
X
Share with your Friends


Garrison\'s Offense An Unexpected Surprise For Cats
After the team went out and overhauled its roster during the offseason, the third-year defenseman has provided the biggest surprise by scoring at a club record pace for first-place Florida.
Defenseman Jason Garrison celebrates one of his 10 goals on the season. (Getty Images0
SUNRISE, Fla. -- When the Florida Panthers overhauled their roster in the offseason by bringing in a slew of free agents, the hope was that one or more of the newcomers would blossom offensively.

Little did they know that the player who would enjoy the biggest breakout would be someone already on the roster.

Really, no one had any reason to predict that third-year player Jason Garrison would be leading all NHL defensemen with 10 goals at this stage of the season.

And you can put Garrison right at the top of that list.

"Definitely, unexpected is a good word," Garrison said. "I've been given the opportunity to get a little more time on the power play and I'm just trying to make it count, doing what I need to do, and that's shoot the puck and get the pucks to the net. The forwards do such a good job of screening and tipping shots and getting in the way of other guys that they're able to find their way through."

To put Garrison's start in perspective, consider that he came into this season with 7 goals in 113 career games.

It took him all of 17 games to match that total, and now he's well on his way to shattering the Panthers' single-season record for defensemen of 15 goals, reached twice by Jay Bouwmeester and once by Bryan McCabe.

Garrison already has shattered the Panthers' franchise record for fewest games needed for a defenseman to reach 10 goals. He accomplished the feat in 33 games, 11 fewer than Bouwmeester in 2008-09.

Asked about the team record, Garrison laughed and said, "I'm not aware of it at all and I probably don't want to know."

There's been a simple formula for Garrison's offensive success this season: fire the puck. All 10 of his goals have come on slap shots. Pretty much all of them have come from the point, six have come on the power play, and most have been one-timers.

"It's not only how hard he shoots the puck, but how accurate," coach Kevin Dineen said. "Rarely does he miss the net. He's been a big part of our special teams and our production from the point."

That the Panthers sit atop the Southeast Division standings -- the latest they've been in first place since March of 2000 -- can be attributed in large part to the production of the top line of returning center Stephen Weiss and newcomers Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Morrow producing for Stars

Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent
Since returning from a six-game injury absence, the Dallas captain looks reinvigorated on the ice and has keyed the club offensively along with linemates Mike Ribeiro and Steve Ott. READ MORE ›
But while the other lines haven't contributed offensively on a consistent basis, the defensemen have more than done their part.

Brian Campbell, acquired from Chicago in the offseason, entered Tuesday night's game against Phoenix second in defenseman scoring with 25 points. Holdover Dmitry Kulikov was tied for 12th with 20 points.

But Campbell has been an offensive threat for years and Kulikov is a former first-round pick, so their offensive performance hasn't been nearly as eye-opening as that of Garrison.

A free agent who never got drafted, Garrison was solid in his own end for the Panthers last season, but he had only 5 goals and 13 assists.

He still had a big shot, though. And this year he's had more opportunities to unleash it.

"Perfect speed and perfect height," is how Versteeg described Garrison's shot. "He doesn't usually hit too high. A lot of those guys with the hard shot, they hit it over the net all the time. But he hits a perfect height almost always. It's hard for a D-man to block it and forwards to block it, and it's hard for a goalie to react to it."

Fellow defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who returned to Florida this season for a second stint, started calling Garrison "Boom Boom" early in the season.

"Not knowing much about Garri coming to the team, just seeing how he utilizes that shot, it's a heavy shot, he gets it off quick and it's tough to handle," Jovanovski said. "He uses it on the power play to his advantage and it's a boom of a shot."

Between his scoring and his work in the defensive zone, Garrison, a 27-year-old native of White Rock, B.C., has put together an All-Star-caliber season so far.

At the very least, he's making a name for himself while helping his team continue its surprising run.

"Nobody knows too much about him probably," said Campbell, who had an assist on each of Garrison's first eight goals. "He's a good player. I've enjoyed playing with him. I feel like we work well with each other. I'm happy he's putting them in. I'll keep passing if he wants to keep putting them in, that's for sure."

Author: Alain Poupart | NHL.com Correspondent

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 63 22 16 -8 38
J. Huberdeau 60 9 27 4 36
J. Jokinen 62 6 28 0 34
A. Ekblad 63 10 23 8 33
B. Boyes 61 11 21 9 32
J. Jagr 59 12 19 -9 31
J. Hayes 54 17 10 -5 27
B. Campbell 63 3 20 3 23
A. Barkov 52 10 12 -4 22
T. Fleischmann 52 7 14 12 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .920 2.40
A. Montoya 5 6 2 .891 2.98
 
FloridaPanthers.com is the official Web site of the Florida Panthers. Florida Panthers and floridapanthers.com are trademarks of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.