State of the Rangers

Should the Rangers look to move Girardi?

Girardi's injury really heightens the depth hole.
Could they move Girardi to create cap space?

You know what you’re going to get with Dan Girardi. An honest effort, fearless play, positional consistency, relentless shot blocking and an overall fine defensive game (not to mention cyborg body parts). While Girardi chips in offensively, he’s clearly a defensive player first, and an impressive one at that. That said, Girardi has a glass ceiling, and given the seemingly never ending (over) use of Girardi by the Rangers, Girardi has tired toward the end of the season – which was inevitable – and the potential of all that overuse blunting his game, and future, is a legitimate concern.

With Ryan McDonagh already every bit the equal of Girardi, Michael Del Zotto (still, and perhaps worryingly) the Rangers best offensive option, and John Moore developing nicely in his short period with the Rangers (throw in Anton Stralman and the potential of Marc Staal returning), the Rangers have a host of defensive options. The back end needs an upgrade in the nastiness department, and in all likelihood that will need to be addressed from outside the organisation in the short term (with Dylan McIlrath hopefully filling the void long term).

All this brings us back to Dan Girardi. This isn’t a post to say they should move him or have to move him. Defensively, Girardi is All Star calibre. However he’s not been the same player this season and that may be due to overuse by the coaching staff for various reasons. What this post is about is Dan Girardi not being as critical as he once was and the Rangers, having multiple needs on the roster and limited cap space to address them. Girardi cold be a solution of sorts.

Quality defense is the most sought after commodity in the NHL. That is a reason why the Rangers could at least consider moving Girardi. He should fetch a fine return, given his affordable 1 year remaining at a bargain $3.4 million. That money and any potential return of assets would leave the Rangers in a better position going forward.

If the (sensationalised) media reports of Henrik Lundqvist potentially demanding maximum term and money are anywhere close to being true, the Rangers will need all the help they can get financially. Girardi’s cap savings (in this theoretical scenario) would help. So much of this theory is based on Marc Staal’s return, but IF Staal does come back, then a top four of McDonagh, Staal, Del Zotto, and Moore/Stralman is a pretty fine start defensively.

If the Rangers keep Girardi then they keep a quality defenseman without doubt, no complaints there. However, with some players already talking about a ‘steps backward’ and several truly essential players approaching key crossroads in their Ranger futures (within the next twelve months), perhaps Dan Girardi can help this club more by being sacrificed for the greater good. It’s at least worth thinking about, even if it’s not Girardi who they wind up moving. The Rangers are at a point where they may need to deal a veteran favorite to make cap room for youth.

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  1. Isn’t our biggest problem defensive depth though? We have 6 D I’m comfortable with:

    Girardi, McDonagh,
    Staal, Stralman,
    Del Zotto, Moore

    Our 7th Dman is Eminger. Everything is as it should be until one of those top 6 gets injured (as happened with Staal this yr). And then if a 2nd goes down (Stralman) we have a disaster on our hands.

    If we were to move Girardi, wouldn’t we need a defensman back? Or then be forced to look to FA?

    I look at the Rangers as a table with 4 legs propping up the rest of the team- Lundqvist is 2 of the legs, Girardi is 1 and Callahan is 1. I’m not sure I’d be smiling if he were to get moved. It all depends on the return, though, to be fair.

    What do you think Girardi, with 1 year remaining @ 3.4mil would fetch this summer?

    1. Rangers biggest problem remains scoring. Not defensive depth. The only reason that defensive depth is an issue is because they are hemmed into their own zone for 40-45 minutes a game and can’t generate a consistent forecheck against good teams.

  2. I’m generally against trading Girardi. I think a deeper defensive rotation would prevent him from tiring out (obviously) and that would allow him to play more ‘monster minutes’ in the playoffs.

    I always thought the guy the Rangers would trade would be Staal. Anyone else feel like he wants to team up with his brothers in Carolina? Now the injury will certainly put a wrench into that idea though.

    If it means keeping Hank, then I’m all for trading him and almost anyone else.

    1. jordan leopold, regehr, doug murray and a bunch of old guys that wouldnt be playing 3rd pairing

  3. We are nowhere deep enough at defense to move G. We were victimized by the Bruins 4th line because we didn’t have the depth to keep up with them. We had schmucks like Hammer hetting skated aroubd left and right. I would be fine with trading G if we could somehow guarantee that no other DMan gets hurt but that won’t happen. We seem to have I jury issues with our defensemen every year. Long story short, we have nowhere near the depth required to deal Danny G. He is too important to this club.

  4. Its not a bad decision. Honestly I think it’s a good one. Girardi is a shot blocking machine but his breakout and outlet passes leave a lot to be desired. Is it part of the collapse system that’s causing this? Maybe but, he and all of the defense didn’t make good breakout passes versus the Caps or the Bruins. It’ll come down to what the offer is and what the return is. If it comes down to a Zherdev for Tyutin deal… absolutely not.

  5. I wouldn’t trade Girardi. I would make the deal that was rumored around the trade deadline when according to people in Winnipeg supposedly offered Byfuglien for DelZotto and Christian Thomas. This way next years D would look like this: McDonough/Girardi, Staal/Byfuglien and Moore/McIlrath with Stralman as 7th D. This way you get some serious toughness at the D position and you protect the King from idiots like Clarkson & Marchand. Also you get the big shot from the point on the pp that we have been needing.

  6. As Staal was developing into the shutdown defender he was (is), I always thought the Rangers might have to move Girardi. But with the uncertainty of Staal’s condition (concussions and eye’s aren’t always something you can rehab) and the overall lack of defensive depth I don’t see that happening these days…

    1. That Staal injury is really scary. They won’t make a move until they figure out what’s going on with him. Look what happened after they dealt Rozsival and then Sauer’s career ended.

  7. Assuming Staal comes back, the Rangers have four left Dmen. They’ve been using Del Zotto on the right, but he just isn’t any good there. Girardi isn’t expendable, at least not now.

  8. Well, with Torts gone maybe whoever replaces him will use his third pair more. And hopefully the Rangers can actually get some players to play on the third pair and be reliable.

  9. I have been touting a potential Staal to Carolina for a while….Conner Murphy(best Offenive D man not in NHL) and a No.1(#5 overall) plus the cap relief could make sense…but would Carolina take a chance on a one-eyed D man?

  10. I would trade Girardi to get into the first rd.Can we put together a package to get a top 10 pick?Their are a couple nasty skilled Dmen.

  11. I think Staal will never be the same he was pre-concussion. He should be the one to go. We all know he wants to play with the bros. McD is gonna be an uber-stud. He is only gonna get better and you can’t get any more steady and solid than Girardi.

  12. i think Girardi should stay what would they get for him? he is one of the leaders next to Cally in the room. I would keep him. amy k herman

  13. For those of you that are vision impaired, G is a solid defenseman, but frankly not a shut down number one pairing.

    His outlet passes are terrible, his retreat to block approach sucks and doesnt instill enough fear in the opposition.

    That said our pairings for next season are:
    1. G and McD
    2. McIllrath and Moore
    3. Stall and either Gonchar or Streit (via free agency)
    – with Strallman as the backup

    Solid but not spectacular…and the nastiness hinges on McIllrath.

    Would love Tyler Myers from Buffalo!!

    That means MDZ gets traded for a forward or packaged with Pyatt / Asham for a center.

  14. Keep the current D corps…I dont see Lundqvist taking any discounts unless it is to resign the current blueline. Hope Staal stays. New coach should help the scoring and open up the system a bit more so that the D aren’t basically targets standing in front of Lundqvist all night.

  15. Please stop with these type’s of article’s they hurt the team more then they do any good for it. And just incite the fans!!!! Dan Girardi is a warrior!!!!!

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