For several years the Rangers had a relatively steady flow of defensive prospects make it to the NHL through the system. Whether it was Michael Del Zotto, Marc Staal, Ryan McDonagh, Mike Sauer or Girardi himself, the Rangers were able to supplement the NHL roster with cost effective home grown talent. Recently, there have been concerns of the talent approaching the NHL level.
With the relatively slow progress made by Dylan McIlrath (who still has time on his side) and the unknown NHL projections of Brady Skjei and Calle Andersson, the Rangers don’t have the ability to promote from within. Perhaps Conor Allen aside, there is very little that could step up in short notice.
Aside from acquiring organisational continuity (and his obvious ability), Dan Girardi’s new deal helps the Rangers significantly in terms of organisational depth. Girardi allows the Rangers to exercise patience on the blueline. Andersson and Skjei in particular will not be rushed when they sign. Another season in Hartford wouldn’t exactly be a bad thing for McIlrath. Throwing Klein into the mix, the Rangers already have four quality NHL defensemen – all capable of significant minutes – locked into deals beyond this season so the Rangers can plan longer term.
Girardi’s deal allows the team to negotiate with Anton Stralman and John Moore from a position of strength. Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi’s deals combined – based on market value – allow the Rangers some room to manoeuvre when looking to tie down Stralman, perhaps meaning their breaking point for a new deal for Stralman may be greater than it was prior. Retaining Girardi –and the recent acquisition of Klein– also offer the club some security when they eventually come to negotiating with the back-to-his-best Marc Staal over the next off-season.
The positive fall-out from the Girardi deal continues. Another benefit from retaining the veteran blueliner is the greater flexibility it affords Sather and co. when they come to deal with the upcoming 2014 NHL draft. Had Girardi sought pastures new, the club may have had to focus on another NHL defenseman with their top pick this summer. Now, they are more likely to go best player available – always the safest option when negotiating the draft.
Ryan Callahan’s future may also influence organisational thinking come draft time, but no longer is the long term state of the defense a pressing concern. With fair market value achieved for both the Rangers and Girardi it seems the positives are both plentiful and wide reaching. Girardi’s deal bodes well for the long term.