When the Vegas Golden Knights selected 13 veteran defenseman in the NHL Expansion Draft this past June, traded for Shea Theodore, and signed Brad Hunt, it was clear that moves would need to be made to handle their overage on the blue line. Yet, even after trading away Marc Methot, Trevor van Riemsdyk, David Schlemko, and Alexei Emelin soon after selecting them, it still left the NHL’s newest team with a log jam on the back end. The long-term injury status of Clayton Stoner also helped the cause, but by the end of October, the team was faced with no options remaining but to waive Griffin Reinhart and, more surprisingly, Jason Garrison. Both players cleared waivers and were assigned to the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, where they have remained since.
However, Garrison is finally getting the chance to return to the NHL ranks. The Knights announced today that they have recalled Garrison from the Wolves. With Jonathon Merrill and Luca Sbisa both sidelined with injuries, Vegas is in need of some added depth on the blue line for the first time this season. The Expansion Draft pick from the Lightning is expected to join the team on their current road trip in Tampa and could make his return against his former team. A veteran of over 500 NHL games, Garrison was once a formidable defender, though his play has slipped as his age has climbed. Nevertheless, few would have expected the 33-year-old to have just four NHL games under his belt in 2017-18 versus 31 games logged in the AHL.
While Garrison cleared waivers earlier this season, the Knights do face some risk by calling him back up to the big league squad. If Garrison stays on the roster for less than 30 days or plays in less than 10 games, he can safely be returned to the AHL. However, should Garrison exceed either of those limits, he would need to be passed through waivers again if the Knights want to demote him prior to the NHL Trade Deadline. If Garrison performs admirably in that short stint, he could prove to be a tempting option for another contender to grab on waivers. Thus, Vegas faces a situation where they either want to return Garrison to the minors as soon as possible or ensure he stays on the roster until the Trade Deadline has come and gone.