Jason Garrison was one of the most sought-after free-agent defencemen last summer, and he left money on the table when he signed with his hometown Vancouver Canucks.
But fans, perhaps due to the hype surrounding Garrison's career year in 2011-12, quickly turned on the $4,600,000 defender after his big shot failed to score early on in the season.
Make no mistake, his slap shot is one of the reasons Garrison was able to demand a high salary on the open market. But it is his physical play and all the little things he does in his own end that make him an all-around player rather than a power-play specialist.
Garrison, after a learning period due to switching conferences as well as learning a new system, has adapted to the Canucks' style of play and has potted seven goals in 42 games so far this year.
Extrapolated out to a full 82-game season, and that would be 14 goals. In his career year with the Florida Panthers, Garrison put up 16 goals. Sami Salo, the player Garrison replaced in the eyes of most fans, never put up more than 14 goals in a season.
Plus/minus is a stat that needs some context to be useful, but Garrison leads the defence at plus-17. The next two highest defencemen are Dan Hamhuis (plus-nine) and Kevin Bieksa (plus-eight), who were the Canucks shutdown defence pairing the last two seasons.
Garrison is starting to get more support from the fans now that the goals are coming, but he is still the most underrated defenceman on the Canucks.