Florida Panthers’ Campbell and Garrison a lethal pairing @ the blue lines
When you think of great hockey defensive pairings in the NHL you think of Weber/Suter of Nashville, Keith/Seabrook of Chicago, Lidstrom/Kronwell of Detroit, Chara/Seidenberg of Boston and LeTang/Orpik of Pittsburgh. You don’t necessarily think of Brian Campbell and Jason Garrison. Yet this tandem has been invaluable to their team in both ends of the ice.
Outside of the Versteeg, Fleischmann and Weiss line, the defensive duo of Garrison and Campbell are leading their team with production on the offence. Brian Campbell is third in the league amongst defensemen with a high of 27 points (3G 24 A). Garrison is right behind with 16 points (10 G 6A) on the Panthers and ranks 30th in the NHL.
The Panthers are where they are due to the skill of these two defensemen jumping into the offensive play without giving up anything on the defensive end. Garrison is leading the plus/minus category on the team amongst defensemen followed by Campbell which speaks to this pairs solid two way play.
Campbell is second in the league in assists by a defenseman and 11th in the league overall skaters. He is trailing such headliners like, the Sedins, Patrick Kane, Claude Giroux, Pavel Datsyuk and Erik Karlsson. What Florida may not know is that Brian Campbell has been doing this year in and year out. This year however, is a banner year for Campbell as he already has doubled his point contribution from the entire season last year with the Blackhawks.
Everyone knows about Campbell’s puck handling abilities and solid defensive play. What maybe of surprise is Jason Garrison who leads his team with six power play goals and is third on the team with game winning goals of 2 and a shooting % of 11.8 which is first by a defenseman on the team. If he continues on this pace he will double his production from last year.
Both have stayed healthy and contributed for this team in every game. This stability has contributed no doubt to this team being where they are at and currently enjoying its best record in the division. The communication between these two would lead you to think they have been playing together for a while but that is not the case. That being said this tandem will only get better with more time they play together. That is a scary thought for everyone in the league not wearing the Cat on their jersey.
Offensive defensemen or defensive rocks in their own zone, however you look at this pairing it amounts to winning games in Florida. If they continue playing the rest of the season the same way they started, they may become more well known in south Florida than that other famous male duo Crockett and Tubbs.