"(Garrison) is a player that, really, I didn't have a read on, because we didn't see Florida very much," Vigneault said. "I had heard a tremendous amount of great things from people that knew him personally, people that had played with him.
"He had nothing but great reviews from our players as they were practicing here prior to the start of the training camp. I can honestly say he's lived up to billing."
Chris Tanev, 23, who has excelled in call-ups from the minors the past two seasons, will also play top-six defensive minutes after playing for Chicago of the AHL during the lockout. Free-agent signings Cam Barker and Jim Vandermeer bolster a blue-line corps that has been hit hard by injuries in recent 82-game seasons and will be challenged again to remain healthy.
Vancouver's success will rest largely in the scoring hands of Henrik and Daniel Sedin. The twins, who won the NHL scoring title in 2010 and 2011, respectively, saw their production decline in 2011-12. Henrik notched 81 points while playing all 82 games, while Daniel was limited to 67 points in a season limited to 72 games because of a concussion and another injury.
If Vigneault is able to stick to his plan, he will keep a tight lid on the Sedins' minutes while giving the third and fourth lines more playing time in wake of the second-line health issues. The twins usually play less than other teams' stars and, even in a compressed season with games meaning something from the start, Vigneault does not want to risk playing them too much.
"They're just the type of guys that want to do everything that they can for the team, and I've got to look at the big picture," Vigneault said.
The Sedins have spoken to the coach about the possibility of playing more, but the twins said they are fine with Vigneault's stated goal.
"Every player on this team wants to play a lot," Daniel Sedin said. "But we're at our best when we run four lines and everyone plays limited minutes. It's going to keep everyone fresh. Usually, our team is best, I think, when we get everyone involved."
Vigneault said he has "turned the page" from last season's disappointing first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Kings. But after a long summer and extended labor dispute, the early exit does not sit well with Daniel Sedin.
"Every time you lose that last game of the season, it still hurts," he said. "We're a team that should be competing for the Stanley Cup. That's where we want to get to this year."