The Edmonton Oilers are out ahead of the crowd when it comes to locking up tryout candidates this off-season. After adding experienced two-way forward Scottie Upshall on a PTO last week, the team has now added another veteran to the mix. The Oilers have announced a PTO agreement with former Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Jason Garrison. With more than 500 NHL games under his belt, Garrison could help to make up for the loss of blue line leader Andrej Sekera if he performs well enough in camp.
Garrison is looking for any opportunity to get his career back on track. Once considered an elite defenseman, as evidenced by the six-year, $27.6MM contract that just expired, Garrison has been anything but in recent years. After his play slipped in his final years with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team arranged for Garrison to be selected by Vegas in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, even giving up the rights to KHL star Nikita Gusev and a pair of high picks to do so. Garrison then skated in just eight games with the Knights last season, clearing waivers twice over the course of a campaign spent almost entirely in the AHL.
At 33 years old, Garrison is hoping to show that he can still make a difference in the NHL. It is no surprise that the free agent market was quiet for the struggling defender, but he may have found a great option in a PTO with the Oilers. Since Sekera went down, there has been almost unanimous agreement among hockey pundits that Edmonton needed to make an addition. While the team has since added Jakub Jerabek, it would not be a shock to see the older, more experienced Garrison win a roster spot on a blue line that features an average NHL games played of 260 among the currently-slated starters. Garrison could not only make the team, but be a locker room leader for a squad that fell well short of expectations last year and could use some guidance in their effort to return to the postseason.