Garrett Stafford, a career AHL journeyman, will take his talents overseas to Sweden, signing with Färjestad in Elitserien.
Undrafted, Stafford began his professional career with the Cleveland Barons, former AHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks, after being signed by the California based NHL team in October of 2003. His first pro season ended with an ugly incident. On April 30, 2004, Stafford was playing for the Cleveland Barons against the Hamilton Bulldogs in the Calder Cup playoffs when he got into an altercation with Hamilton’s winger Alexander Perezhogin. Stafford cross-checked Perezhogin in the face resulting in them both falling to the ice. As they were getting up Stafford took another swing with his stick, this time making contact with the back of Perezhogin’s helmet. In response, Perezhogin swung his stick into Stafford’s face as he was getting up. The slash knocked Stafford unconscious resulting in a concussion and sending him into convulsions on the ice as well as causing severe facial wounds which required 20 stitches to repair. Since then, he has spent most of his career in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins, San Antonio Rampage, Portland Pirates, Hamilton Bulldogs and most recently the Hershey Bears.
The stay at home defenseman put up some decent numbers with the Bears this season, scoring one goal and 20 assists in 48 games played. Prior to the NHL trade deadline, the Edmonton Oilers acquired Stafford from the Washington Capitals in exchange for forward Dane Byers and would spend the remainder of the season with the OKC Barons. He recorded two assists in eight games during his short time with the Oilers organization.
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