Canucks get Garrison, Habs and Sens busy, too | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaCanucks get Garrison, Habs and Sens busy, too

Posted: Sunday, July 1, 2012 | 08:08 PM

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Jason Garrison was signed by the Vancouver Canucks on the opening day of the NHL's 2012 free agency period. (J Pat Carter/Associated Press) Jason Garrison was signed by the Vancouver Canucks on the opening day of the NHL's 2012 free agency period. (J Pat Carter/Associated Press)

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The Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators were the busiest Canadian clubs on the opening day for the 2012 free-agent period. But it was the Vancouver Canucks who landed the highest profile free agent out of the seven Canadian franchises when they inked local product Jason Garrison on Sunday evening.

While the rest of the hockey world waits to find out the destinations for prized free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter - they are expected to decide on Monday - the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators were the busiest Canadian clubs on the opening day for the 2012 free-agent period.

But it was the Vancouver Canucks who landed the highest profile free agent out of the seven Canadian franchises when they inked local product Jason Garrison on Sunday evening.

The Canucks had lost veteran blue-liners Sami Salo to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Aaron Rome to the Dallas Stars earlier in the day, but rebounded to sign the 27-year-old Garrison of White Rock, B.C. He checked in for 16 goals this past season, third amongst NHL defencemen.

Garrison's new six-year contract has a salary of $4.6-million US, the same as veteran Vancouver defenceman Kevin Bieksa and slightly more than Dan Hamhuis' $4.5-million salary.

Under rookie general manager Marc Bergevin, the Canadiens immediately became tougher with the additions of forwards Brandon Prust (four years, $10-million) and Colby Armstrong (one-year, $1-million) and as well as 36-year-old defenceman Francis Bouillon (one-year, $1.5-million) will return to Montreal. All three players add character and grit the Habs roster.

The Senators have brought in free-agent forward Guillaume Latendresse (one-year, $2-million) and defenceman Mike Lundin (one-year, $1.15-million), and acquired dependable blue-liner Marc Methot in exchange for forward Nick Foligno. Ottawa lost defencemen Filip Kuba to the Florida Panthers and Matt Carkner to the New York Islanders as well as Zenon Konopka to the Minnesota Wild.

The 27-year-old Methot won a Memorial Cup with the London Knights seven years ago playing mostly alongside Dan Girardi, now of the New York Rangers, and is expected to play with Norris Trophy-winner Erik Karlsson, now that Kuba is gone.

Here's a look at the other what the other five Canadian teams did on Sunday:

Calgary Flames

The Flames were one of five teams not to sign any free-agents on Sunday. The Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals were the others.

Calgary signed defenceman Dennis Wideman last week after acquiring his rights, but lost forward David Moss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday.

Edmonton Oilers

A day after they won the battle to sign 21-year-old unrestricted free agent defenceman Justin Schultz of West Kelowna, B.C., Oilers GM Steve Tambellini convinced 36-year-old Ryan Smyth to remain in Edmonton with a two-year, $2.5-million per season contract and re-signed enforcer Darcy Hordichuk (one-year, $850,000).

Tambellini also added that he is trying to strengthen his team through a trade. He has some young prospects up front that he can move. 

Winnipeg Jets

The Jets lured forward Alex Ponikarovsky with a one-year, $1.8-million contract and re-signed depth defenceman Derek Meech to a one-year, $700,000 deal. Winnipeg, however, lost rugged fourth-liner Tanner Glass and a pair of backup goalies Chris Mason (Nashville) and Jonas Gustavsson (Detroit).

They still need to obtain a backup goalie for next season. Some of the unrestricted second-tier netminders out there include: Alex Auld, Ty Conklin, Dan Ellis, Johan Hedberg, Brent Johnson, Al Montoya, Andrew Raycroft and Marty Turco.

Toronto Maple Leafs

They signed third-line centre Jay McClement (two years, $3-million), who's good on the penalty kill, as well as re-signed depth forward Matt Frattin (two years, $1.7-million). They lost Armstrong to the Habs after buying him out on Saturday.

Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke revealed that he did inquire about 40-year-old Martin Brodeur, but Burke feels the veteran goalie will remain with the Devils.

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