(For those who don't know, the Sharks have former UMD star Alex Stalock coming off a record-setting rookie year in the AHL, and there's a good chance he'll make their NHL roster at some point during the 2010-11 season, if not from the outset.)
The ever-classy Jason Garrison played three years at UMD, and was unlucky as a junior to see a solid-looking season derailed by a broken leg suffered from a dirty hit by a Wisconsin player (not that I'm bitter or something).
Garrison left after his junior season to sign a free-agent deal with the Florida Panthers, and he made his NHL debut in the 2009-2010 season, getting a shot for a single game at St. Louis before being sent back to the AHL's Rochester Americans.
Last year, Garrison's callup lasted longer. He played in 39 games for the Panthers, leading them in plus-minus, recording eight points (including his first two NHL goals), and he was involved in his first NHL fight. He played quite well and took advantage of his opportunities, and now he's earned a new contract with the Panthers.
Oh, and it's a one-way, NHL contract.
Garrison's salary will be $650,000 for 2010-11 and $700,000 for 2011-12.
"It's nice knowing you have something walking into camp," Garrison said. "At the same time, I'm definitely not going to sit here and be complacent with it. … I want to go in, work hard and show the coaching staff and management they made a good decision."
Couldn't happen to a better guy. Hopefully he's able to take advantage of this latest opportunity with the rebuilding Panthers.
You can hear a conference call with Garrison on the Panthers website.
(Bear-hug: Rink and Run)