It has been a known fact that the Edmonton Oilers have been looking to bolster their blue line ahead of the 2018-19, but Tuesday's move came as a surprise to many.
Defenceman Jason Garrison will be competing for a spot on the blue line in Edmonton. The 33-year-old defender has signed a professional tryout with the Oilers on Tuesday. The left shot defenceman has played 538 NHL games with the Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights.
Garrison was claimed by the Golden Knights in the 2017 expansion draft. After playing four games for them early in the season, he was placed on waivers in late October. He was back up with Vegas for four more games in late January and early February. He finished the 2017/18 NHL season with one assist in eight games as he spent most of the campaign in the American Hockey League. With the Chicago Wolves, he racked up eight goals and 20 assists in 58 games.
Cap Friendly currently indicates that the Oilers currently have around $3.9 million in projected salary-cap space for 2018-19 with restricted free agent defenseman Darnell Nurse to re-sign. Edmonton will also have some cap flexibility when sidelined blueliner Andrej Sekera gets placed on long-term injured reserve at the start of the season.
However, because of that said injury, they need to shore up on the back end and are looking for Garrison to get back to his old ways and find a way to give Edmonton a boost defensively.
Since the beginning of the summer, Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli has been looking around at different options, especially when it comes to the team's blue line, and Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal recently suggested the Oilers should take another look at the Carolina Hurricanes and defenseman Justin Faulk.
However, the addition of Garrison, who will try to compete for a full-time spot on the blue line, might change a few things for Chiarelli, who is looking to save money for additional moves he might want to pull off closer to the trade deadline in February. With over $62 million invested in 13 players for 2019-20, the Oilers have the cap room to take on Faulk's $4,833,333 annual salary. It however would be more expensive than Garrison down the line. Faulk has a 15-team trade list giving the Hurricanes more possibilities if they decide to trade him.