It doesn’t come as much of a surprise after his play in the preseason and the recent trade of Jakub Jerabek, but Jason Garrison has earned a contract for the 2018-19 season. The Edmonton Oilers will sign Garrison to a one-year, one-way deal worth $650K according to Bob McKenzie of TSN, a nice reward for his hard work on a professional tryout at camp this summer.
Garrison, 33, ended up on the Vegas Golden Knights roster in last season’s expansion draft but couldn’t crack the lineup for much of the season. Suiting up for just eight games, he instead spent the majority of the year in the minor leagues with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL where he recorded 28 points in 58 games. That broke a string of seven seasons which he had played entirely in the NHL, not a bad streak for an undrafted defenseman out of the college ranks.
Once a feared weapon on the powerplay because of his shot, Garrison can’t really be relied upon for a ton of offensive production anymore. In Edmonton he’ll be asked to play a depth role, likely starting the season in the press box should the team’s regular group be deemed healthy enough to play. His presence does also complicate things somewhat for young talents like Evan Bouchard and Ethan Bear, though both are right handed—something that the Oilers have lacked depth in over the last few seasons.
If the team does end up relying on Garisson as a full-time player, you can bet things have turned south in Edmonton. The defense was a huge spot of difficulty for the team in 2017-18, but should rebound somewhat if Adam Larsson and Oscar Klefbom can stay healthy and in the lineup. Though Andrej Sekera’s injury is painful, all this group has to do is defend well enough in their own end and get the puck quickly up to Connor McDavid and friends in order to compete in the Western Conference. Whether they’ll be able to do that is still yet to be determined.