Can Dan Girardi have a bounce back season?

dan girardi
Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

Dan Girardi has been a polarizing player this offseason, by no fault of his own. The 32 year old defenseman, who has spent his entire career in New York, played most of last season with a cracked kneecap. For all of his faults, Girardi has brass cajones for playing through the entire season like that. But that said, he is 32, is coming off this injury, and has a lot of wear and tear on his body.

The front office and coaching staff are expecting Girardi to have a bounce back season. Those who have been looking at his underlying numbers for the past few seasons don’t believe this is possible for a number of reasons. But is it possible for Girardi to have this bounce back season that we all hope for?

The case for a bounce back season

Girardi had one of the worst seasons for a defenseman in recent memory. That’s no hyperbole either, as his 41.7% CF last season was the 17th worst performance by any defenseman who played 1,000 minutes in a season since 2007-2008 (data courtesy of That’s terrible, and there’s no other way to put it.

But for Girardi, there really is no other direction to go but up. A cracked kneecap slowed him significantly, which says a lot considering skating isn’t his strongest point to begin with. Add in that injury, and you get a guy that can barely move. He will be able to move next year.

Another case for his bounce back season: The 41.7% CF was the lowest of his career by a whopping 4.3% (2014-2015’s 46%). He is just two years removed from his last close to 50% CF season as well. With proper usage, he could see rebounding numbers and effectiveness.

Which brings us to the final case for his bounce back season. There is a pretty decent chance that Girardi will not be locked into his top pairing role with Ryan McDonagh. Even with two healthy knees, Girardi has been slowing down for a while and dragging McDonagh’s performance down. When Girardi was dropped to the second pair and replaced by Kevin Klein, McDonagh and Klein clicked and were significantly more effective. If Girardi is dropped to the second pair, there is hope for that bounce back season.

Girardi really has no other way to go but up.

The case against a bounce back season

The case against is focused around three things for Girardi: His age, his declining performance, and wear and tear on his body.

At 32 years old, Girardi is reaching that point where expecting a bounce back season is more hope than expectation. As the NHL gets younger and faster, it’s rare to see someone who is already noted as a weak skater rebound in a manner that folks are expecting. That may be the point that many are missing: Girardi is a slow skater in a fast league that is only getting faster.

Not only is Girardi another year older, but he’s had even more wear and tear on his body. Girardi’s style of play is to block shots, and he has missed just 11 games in his entire career. Total. And eight of them were last season. That style of play is killer, and the decline for players like this isn’t slow, it’s a cliff. We don’t know what long term effects may come from playing an entire season on a cracked kneecap either.

Last season wasn’t Girardi’s first declining season either. He started to slip as early as January, 2014. It’s gotten progressively worse since, and then last season he fell off a cliff. It’s not like this was a blip on the radar. His effectiveness had been slipping for a while. Expecting a bounce back season to pre-2014 is a bit much, and probably unrealistic.

So which will it be?

I’m of the belief that Girardi will perform better than last year’s monstrosity of a season. He won’t be this ineffective, especially if he’s healthy and removed from the top pair. That said, expecting him to get back to pre-Alain Vigneault days is blind hope. He won’t get to that level again. The best hope is that he can put up respectable bottom pairing numbers, while other defensemen start taking the brunt of the ice time.

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88 thoughts on “Can Dan Girardi have a bounce back season?

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Dan is a very good defenseman who needs to play 17 minutes a game and about 70 regular season games tops. Do that and you will get good numbers from him, good 2nd pair numbers.

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 3:08 pm

      If a player like Dan doesn’t make the team (and he won’t), are the Rangers still obliged to honour his contract?

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 3:59 pm

        NHL contracts are guaranteed. They can’t be cut. Even a demotion only saves them $925k in cap space.

        • Jul 25, 2016 at 5:55 pm

          Which is moot, because of G’s No Movement Clause

        • Jul 26, 2016 at 9:33 pm

          Thanks for the reply, Dave. I’m a Rangers fan as well, going back to early ’58 when they played an exhibition game in Wallaceburg Ont. And it saddens me that these contracts appear to be one-way streets, when the older players are paid far more than they’re worth & kept on longer than they should be while younger players are left stranded, wasting some of those precious early-20 years. I’d love to see McIlrath and perhaps Ryan Graves given every opportunity to play all year this year. By the time the playoffs roll along, they’d have played 80 games and have a fair idea what it’s all about. The
          Rangers could use every ounce of their energy.

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 7:43 am

    i see him in the second pair this coming season and his minutes reduced hopefully the injury bug is over

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 7:50 am


    Good post, and all points were covered, such that some of us, me, have been critical all season long may have been right based on the stats alone.

    It was pointed out to me by both Jerry, and Doc Paul, that I was real hard on Dan, true, I have been. I stated that Dan was exposed in the cup finals, by LA, for lack of speed, and stated on many occasions that Dan’s body had taken a beating over the years playing the Tort’s style game. Others have said that I was delusional, and that Dan needed to have more time to get his game together, well it appears that the injury was the main cause of his play, and maybe I wasn’t such a loon after all for my criticism of Dan.

    Having said all that, as a Ranger fan, and a realist, I don’t see much of a chance of any major improvement. The game is so different from just some three years ago, speed, speed, and more speed is what it’s based on……..Dan lacks speed, never had after burners on his skates to begin with, and all this is working against him. On a side not, I believe Brad Richards retired for the same reason, his lack of speed was affecting his game as well. I will be pulling for Dan, hay I’m a Ranger fan, and he isn’t going anywhere, so we are stuck with him. I see him as a third pair guy, limited time on ice, and maybe a PK’er as well.

    Bottom line, this will be a make, or break season for Dan, the team will give him ample time to get his game back, and if he doesn’t, I can see him retire on his own, ala Richards, because he has too much pride to be a liability to the team!!!!!

    Now watch, AV will use Dan as a top pair guy !!!!!!!!!

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 8:52 am

      This is what happens when you play with a broken kneecap. You can’t generate any kind of power on one leg

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 8:53 am

        In all fairness, Girardi is not a good skater. The kneecap made things worse, but this isn’t his strong suit.

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 2:25 pm

        Dan was never, nor will he ever be a good skater. That is the reason I said I don’t see any scenerio where he improves. Sorry to be so blunt, but I’m a realist, and that’s how I see it !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      I think most of us agree on here. If Dan is used as a third pair guy, we can still get use out of him, and keep his locker room presence and popularity.

      Maybe this year will be different, because we are no longer expected to compete for the cup. That may give AV less of a panic urge to win all the time, and allow him to experiment with different defense pairings, allow McD to play with Klein or Skej, etc.

      I wont hold my breath though

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 8:32 am

    The other part of this equation has to do with the forwards. Will they be able to be more then a one and done rush attack team is more sustained o zone time?

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 8:55 am

      Part of that is the defense getting the puck to them to start a transition to offense. Tough to sustain pressure when you can’t build speed through the neutral zone.

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 11:48 am

        You make the erroneous assumption that the transition to offence is always done by the D, but in point of fact, the transition can also be started by forwards who recover the puck in their own zone & start the play up ice by headmanning the puck.

        • Jul 25, 2016 at 11:53 am

          Which is why I said “part of.”

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Absolutely, too often the forwards are out of position and not getting back. The D kept backing up, playing catch. When you see that it tells you the forwards are covered & there is no one to pass it to. In AV’s system sometimes forwards exit the D-zone too quickly and a good forecheck can pressure the D to the point they cough up the puck. People talk about that first pass as if there is all the time in the world for the D to do this, but in reality it’s all about supporting the puck in the D-zone & winning those battles in the corner & along the boards so you don’t get cycled to death.

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 12:12 pm

        Great point. I’m so glad someone else finally said this. I seen plenty of times where our forwards were already heading up ice when we really didn’t have total possession of the puck. So then we get one nice check on whoever has the puck and the next thing you know we got one guy stuck in our end of the ice with a bunch of forwards from the other team swarming all over the place. I’ve been saying for so long we need to be better along the boards. We don’t win enough battles and with last season not being as fast a team as we’ve had we weren’t getting to loose pucks either. I’m hoping with the guys we picked up like Grabner n Gerbe we’ll be back to playing with speed on our bottom 6. I think we will be much better in that area this year

        • Jul 25, 2016 at 5:39 pm

          Ranger 11,

          GREAT POINTS!!!

          “I’m so glad someone else finally said this.”

          Are you kidding? I’ve been pounding the table on this for some time now lol. I even have talked about this recently in several posts, and have been one of the few here that hasn’t put the blame on our defensive woes on the defenseman as much as most around here do :-)… Many times, I have pointed out that our Forwards have been the reason to much of this problem, since the beginning of last year in fact.

          This issue with how our forwards didn’t help out on our D, like how you put it, “our forwards were already heading up ice when we really didn’t have total possession of the puck”, happened over n over n over again, and it needs to stop! This is something that has got to be addressed!

          Also, this issue gets even more exasperated with our system of playing “man to man”. It’s very difficult to transition from your own end with this unorthodox formation. Don’t get me wrong, as I’m not saying not to continue to play man on man D, but if it’s hurting you, something needs to be done!

          In my opinion, (and I know many aren’t gonna like this) I feel like AV needs to stop having so much emphasis on the “North – South” game!

          Sure, we have done well with this over the past half dozen seasons or so, however, it’s just not there come Playoff time! How many times have we witnessed our opposition clogging up the middle of the ice in the Playoffs to the point where we get absolutely no odd man rushes?

          Don’t get me wrong. Being better on outlets, and working on zone entry is essential, but I feel like management puts way too much emphasis on the whole counter, odd man rushes. Instead, we need to focus more on perimeter Hockey if you will.

          In my opinion, we’re a great “North-South” team in the REGULAR season, and we thrive on it and win games because of it. However, it’s hurting us even more, because, once that’s not there, we don’t know how else to play come Playoff time.

        • Jul 26, 2016 at 6:00 am

          Our team is extremely weak on the walls in all three zones. That is a big problem. Is that something that you can teach/coach? well isnt that what ur paid 3m to do?

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Yes. Bounce back season is in the works.

    Considering he had an injury that requires 2-6 months of off feet healing. Was extremely painful.

    Guy is a warrior and will bounce back. Or fade away with the injury.

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 8:56 am

      He was fading without the injury. The kneecap compounded the issue.

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 5:59 pm

        True. But he will need to play to show he has any value. Let’s just say it could be his last dance on Broadway.

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Optimism. Woo!

    Back to reality, he’s the #1 RD on the depth chart currently. Klein will get some time there but it’s foolish to think he’s gonna play 3rd pair minutes with McIlrath as your 3rd best RD.

    Sure, maybe Skjei sets the world on fire, forces himself to his off side and pushes everyone down….but the earliest that would happen is what, January? December?

    In the meantime, the coach that ran a hobbled Girardi in the top 4 consistently is still around, he’s gonna use him, and he’s gonna get his teeth kicked in, again. Sorry.

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 10:12 am

      I have a feeling Skjei gets thrown to the wolves and opens the season on McD’s right side. He’ll do fine, just like he did in the playoffs.

      Girardi is a 6th/7th D at this stage of his career, and Klein showed us last year he really can’t handle that top assignment.

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 1:46 pm

        Skjei’s really the only other player on this roster with the potential to be a top pair guy. But I’m not optimistic that he’s deployed in that role – at least early on – this year.

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Maybe I’m being to negative but I think they should’ve bought out his contract hoping he gets better to me is only fools gold he has gotten worse and worse over the past two and a half season. AV system is focused on transition and puck control, meaning they need fast skating puck moving defenseman something Girardi never really was and now with injuries and age he is even more not I think it’s time to move on and let the young guys play and possibly make this reported trade for Shattenkirk.

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      Apparently you have no idea what a buyout means! They gain, IMO, absolutely nothing by buying him out. Minimal cap space now, hamstrung for years to come.

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 9:00 pm

        The cap savings now is close to $4m for this season. Enough to say, re-sign Yandle. The $1.25m dead space is moot because the cap will be close to $90m by the time those years hit.

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Well. he’d better have the bounce-back year they expect, or Gorton will have to answer big time about his first really big decision regarding the roster. Granted, he probably couldn’t get anything of value at this point for Girardi, but still, they maintain that they never intended to buy him out. So, if that is the tact he is going to take(whether true or not), if Girardi bombs, he has to answer for it.

    On a different topic; I just read this on Spectors: The Nashville Predators have had some talks with the New York Rangers regarding left wing Rick Nash.

    SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t see the Preds being keen to take on Nash’s $7.8 million contract. We also don’t know if the Preds are on Nash’s list of preferred trade destinations. And of course, the Rangers reportedly don’t want to just give him away.

    Maybe another shoe will drop, after all. Who knows

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Always been a huge Girardi fan, guy is a warrior. I say try him on the 2nd pair, less minutes and wear and tear and defending against middle 6 players as opposed top 3 night after night. Right now consider him the #4 d man behind mcd, staal, and Klein. No way we can have that salary on the 3rd pair. With Mclrath, Skjei, clendenning, and Holden we have enough similar skilled players to replace him if needed. Guy has been all guts for the past decade so we owe him the opportunity to at least try redeem himself on the 2nd pair.

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 10:37 am

    I also want to have a relationship with Rihanna and Jennifer Lawrence, but I also live in reality and know that will not be happening. Similarly, the Rangers should stop smoking meth and realize that Girardi is cooked. He was an absolute tire fire against the Kings in the final several years ago, and since this his decline has been drastic. He was horrific before his kneecap injury in December, and yet AV continued to trot out a player who couldn’t skate.

    By keeping him on the team, we are going to blow yet another season of Hank’s career. This is heartbreaking.

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 11:19 am

      I think Giradi is gonna score 30 to 40 goals this year and finish with 95 points. And win the Norris trophy no problem. Since we’re stuck with him for now, he needs to be used the right way as far as minutes and pairing. Then maybe he can be better than he’s been lately. I think that’s about all we can hope for right now

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      I would like to know what you would do to remedy the situation. Please tell me. There are no options! That, and the guy has been a warrior for us. Where is the loyalty to, at the very least, see if he can make a come back. If he does, maybe he becomes tradeable at the deadline. You, my friend, are the essence of what Trump means when he says, “I wouldn’t want her (Hillary) to have my back!”

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 9:02 pm

        I’m loyal to the crest, not the players.

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 10:44 am

    We should get rid of Girardi, not only because of his poor play, but to free up the mountain of cap space he has that he isn’t worth

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      Who are you trading Girardi’s cap hit to? Are you considering he has a no-movement clause? “Get rid of” is a pretty general statement.

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 11:04 am

    I have trouble gardening when I have a blister.

    This guy had a broken knee cap, and was playing elite professional hockey.

    I say the MGT team knows that the CYBORG getting back 65% is still really good for us…

    I also think that this FREAK OF HUMNA NATURE probably was hurting in other ways due to the compensation needed to play elite professional hockey with a broken knee cap…

    when on of my toes hurts, my hips and knees start to hurt after a while, making any gardening very painful…


    • Jul 25, 2016 at 1:50 pm

      Girardi broke his kneecap in early December last season. How are we accounting for his awful play before that? It’s not all due to that injury, he’s been trending the wrong a lot longer than that.

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 3:10 pm

        that is true, no denying that fact. But I feel his decline wouldn’t have been that steep.

        I think a trade would be best, but I doubt its happening with him.
        Ya can’t buy him out, massive lose of monies…

        I think he is the type of guy to work out even harder to save his playing legacy…

        I am all in on him bring ok this year

        • Jul 25, 2016 at 6:27 pm

          I agree. Not with the buyout issue, because if it was just about massive amounts of monies, the Rangers would do it in a heartbeat, they have more than enough of that. It is the years of CAP hits that are the real costs!

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 6:24 pm

        Thats why if we have this stupid cap, we need a 3 year max cap on contract years!

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 11:30 am

    One other positive is we had a very early exit from the playoffs, giving him a few extra months to recover this summer. I am not optimistic he will have a huge bounce back but hopefully some improvement from last year. one of the biggest things this season is going to be how AV deploys everyone. Girardi’s deployment being high on that list. Here’s hoping.

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    The big question for me is how much input is Jeff Beukeboom going to have in how the defensemen are utilized, because I have zero faith in AVs approach to that aspect of the game. Frankly, Girardi, I cut some slack because he was playing on one leg, & how stupid is that. But he is not the only defenceman who struggled, they all did. Boyle was supposed to be rested but played too many games. Staal had a brutal first half & then he seemed to improve, but he struggled. Klein did his usual, start off great & start to fade toward the end of the season. Yandle was good offensively but he wasn’t great in the D-zone at all. And then we come to McDonagh, who was the biggest disappointment of all for me. Two years ago he looked like he would be contending for the Norris, but these last two seasons he has regressed. Sure, maybe injuries are a factor with him , because he has taken a beating too, several times being pile driven into the boards. Broken foot, concussion, separated shoulder. Frankly I think a rest would do them all a world of good this offseason, except for DMAC who hardly got to play at all.

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    As Dave has pointed out so well, no one in recent memory has turned it around after suffering two drastic declining seasons. There is absolutely no reason to believe a second or third pairing is going to suddenly transform DG back to the warrior he was. Sorry, I wish it wasn’t true, but he’s done. I know there are some who think it better to buy him out right now, but I would be more inclined to buy him out AFTER this season.

    Dave has written extensively in the past about AV’s defensive system and how it changed the way the D were deployed from JT’s reign. Read some of that.

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    There are possession stats and then there are goal-based stats. “One of the worst seasons in recent memory for a defensemen” is something that should show up everywhere. The possession stats say that Girardi was atrocious. The goal-based stats say Girardi was better than poster boy Yandle. That is called mixed reviews.

    If you believe Corsi is everything and +/- is luck (which I don’t), this is what the numbers tells us. Girardi played extremely badly, but his play did not actually hurt the Rangers 5v5. Translated, Girardi was not a problem this year, but will be going forward.

    Now, it is true that Girardi had a bad year on the PK, but no worse than everyone else on the Rangers with the lone exception of Raanta. To be fair, the PK problems were almost certainly a coaching problem. The idea that a bunch of good PK players (including Hank) simultaneously fell off a cliff is not credible.

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      Good Luck with that theory. He was on the ice for overall 421 shot attempts MORE than NYR got with him on the ice. That’s the worst number in the league. Plus, his on ice judgement (chasing either behind the net or all the way to the point was way off kilter).

      About the PK. Safe to say Nash was/is a big part of PK. Still strong there. When he got hurt, PK suffered. Not as much as it suffered when they traded Hags. And D. Moore got really old.

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 4:00 pm

        Simple indisputable fact: A shot that does not go in does not hurt the team. You can argue that it indicates poor play, but you cannot argue that it is actually harmful.

        At even strength, Girardi was on the ice for many more shots against (many of which he blocked incidentally) and was on the ice for about a dozen more goals for. Games are decided by goals and not shots.
        So the Rangers were a successful team even strength with Girardi on the ice.

        +/- is statistically unreliable and what the possession numbers are telling us is that Girardi’s +/- numbers are going to crater in 2016-2017. However, until they actually do crater, he is not hurting the team.

        • Jul 25, 2016 at 4:55 pm

          your first sentence is ridiculous. The Rangers were a pretty good team 5v5, but they were awful short handed and they didn’t draw enough penalties ending up last in power play time.

          They didn’t draw penalties because they didn’t have the puck because the other team was taking this shots that didn’t go in. That’s a consequence of allowing shots. Hence, the name of the game is possession and possession equals shots taken,

          • Jul 25, 2016 at 7:08 pm

            No. The name of the game is scoring more goals than the other team does.

            • Jul 25, 2016 at 8:40 pm

              Ray….yes, keep telling yourself that. Sometimes, it’s not giving up as many as the other guys. We kind of failed at that. Check how we did with late period leads.

              If you don’t have the puck, you can’t score. If you give up more shots than the other guys, your goalie has to be world class every night. Hank was only world class most of the nights. Overall because of the shots this defense was giving up, the NYR had a real middle of the road save percentage. High quality chances too.

              The Rangers had the second highest shooting percentage in the league last year. A lower shooting percentage last year, and the NYR miss the playoffs.

              I was just like you, Ray. Goals do count. But, how you get to those goals is something you should investigate. The stats aren’t crap. All of them tell quite a story. We are at best a bubble team as constituted. And if Hank slips, we are lottery bound.

              • Jul 25, 2016 at 9:03 pm

                Corsi says that Toronto was better than Washington – I kid you not.

              • Jul 26, 2016 at 12:30 pm

                Ray – Please stop using Corsi as the be-all-end-all stat. You’re misusing it. I’ve clearly stated this in the primer.

              • Jul 26, 2016 at 2:28 pm


                I am using the word Corsi as shorthand. As I understand it, there are two kinds of effectiveness stats and also complementary usage stats. The effectiveness stats are either goal-based or shot-based. I use Corsi as shorthand for shot-based stats and +/- as shorthand for goal-based stats.

                The usage stats of course provide context for either type of effectiveness stat and it is wrong not to use this context.

                I think it is safe to say that not one single person on this site – including myself – has a complete grasp on the comparable values of goal-based and shot-based metrics.

                With infinite data, goal-based metrics tell the whole story. However, they are based on much smaller samples and hence somewhat inaccurate for our purposes, although interestingly they are completely accurate in judging the past. Shot metrics are more accurate, but can never tell the whole story.

        • Jul 25, 2016 at 6:46 pm

          If the initial shot was blocked and then a big rebound resulted, because of the initial bad defense, and the rebound was put in then, indeed, bad defensive play can and DOES hurt the team.

          • Jul 25, 2016 at 7:09 pm

            Come on. Obviously that rebound shows up in the goal-based stats.

            • Jul 25, 2016 at 8:12 pm

              Oh, I really don’t do stats, I do eye! I’m old 😉

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      I do not even look at +/- in evaluating a player. It is mostly deployment-based and has a ton to do with the other players on the ice at the same time. I don’t think too many top pair d-men on non-horrible teams suffer negative +/-…because they’re constantly on the ice with their best whole team unit. Conversely if you put your top d-man on the third pair, constantly playing low minutes with the 3rd/4th line who don’t shoot nearly as much, well…watch his +/- go down the drain comparatively.

      Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I think Corsi is EVERYTHING…but I do believe it puts all talent evaluators (be they amateurs like us fans, or pros like front office staffs) in a much better position to make the right call. You’ll hardly ever see a player with a ton of individual points and an ugly HERO chart, for example. It’s not hard to find a player with solid +/- and an ugly HERO chart, though – and in my eyes, that means he has his line-mates mostly to thank for his beneficial +/-. I put #5 squarely in that territory the last few years.

      One of those players in that top section does not belong with the rest based on talent. He is the subject of this article. I wish it were different; I really do…but +/- was the only stat that made Girardi look servicable last season…and coincidentally I feel it is among the least meaningful stats out there for gauging individual value.

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 7:36 pm

        I think the “I do not even look at … ” is a sign of good analysis. Certainly lots of things can affect +/-. OZ, DZ starts have an effect – oh, Girardi is weighted to DZ starts. Strength of opposition has an effect. Oh, Girardi plays against the best frequently. Teammates matter. Yes, Girardi plays with McDonagh a lot– I do hold that against him. I haven’t checked, but I’d guess that there is not much matching with specific forwards. I’m inclined to think the other factors cancel themselves out in this specific case – McD offsetting the other factors.

        There are three problems with all statistics and these include +/- and Corsi. (1) They specifically measure one thing and not everything. (2) Context is needed (3) Because samples are not infinite, luck is a factor.

        +/- is particularly susceptible to luck and there will always be good +/- players who aren’t really good and bad +/- players who are. Going forward, I want good players. But in hindsight, I prefer lucky bad players to unlucky good ones.


        The crucial distinction that no one gets is that the player who deserves to be the most valuable because of ability and the player who was of most value because of how things turned out need not be the same person.

        Put simply, Corsi says Girardi should have stunk last year and we should expect him to stink this year. +/- says he didn’t actually hurt the team last year.

        • Jul 25, 2016 at 8:18 pm

          Girardi’s top linemates last season, 5v5, were:

          1. McD (51.3% TOI, no surprise there) 2. Zucc (31.1%) 3.Brass (30.1%) 4. Yandle (29.2%) 5. Miller (26.3%) 6. Fast (26.2%, but remember – even though this is a bottom 4 player, for some reason AV had him in the top 6 a lot meaning that Girardi was often still with good lines even when with Fast) 7. Kreids (26.1%) 8. Step (25.2%) 9. Moore (22.6%) 10. Nash (20.1%).

          Mostly good company, I’d say. +/- is a stat that rates team play and tries to individualize it. Sorry, but that’s about as flawed as individual stats come, and that’s why I ignore it. It’s also why advanced metrics in general ignore it.

          • Jul 25, 2016 at 9:13 pm

            So disproportionately, he tended to very slightly not play with the first line of forwards, played disproportionately with the second line, comparatively rarely with the third line. Since AV’s third line gets mostly OZ starts, this is not surprising. The big surprise in these numbers is how little he played with Nash and Stepan.

            By and large, your numbers support my point, not yours.

            OH — and Corsi also individualizes team stats. That’s what you have to do – hockey is purely a team game.

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      The reason a bunch of PKers had bad years is because when one guy messes up when you are shorthanded, that’s probably a goal. So the fact that G, Staal, and Klein as well were frequently losing their men on the doorstep or behind the net means they hurt everyone else’s numbers. You can’t cover the kind of deficiency on the PK. At evens it is a different story because Hank had one of the best years of his career at even strength. Goal metrics fail to adequately express how bad G us now for the same reason they said he was a top-pair guy a few years ago, and that reason is one of the best goalies of all time.

      As for +/-, it is a garbage stat. It does not include PK goals against or PP goals for, but it does count shorthanded goals on both sides. It also includes empty net goals for and against. So G gets a + when we get an empty netter because he is used in those situations and Yandle gets a – when the other guys score an EN goal because that is how he gets used. Yandle gets hurt because he was on the ice for a few shorties against and G gets a boost for when he got lucky and we got a shortie, but Yandle gets nothing for leading us in PP points while G’s +/- doesn’t suffer for the horrorshow we got when he was on the PK.

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 7:43 pm

        One can easily correct +/- for the short-handed and empty net goals. If we do that, Yandle and Girardi are even. Still, it is only valid as an ES stat. Certainly Yandle deserves bonus points for his fine PP play; however one should note that AV even trusted Chris Summers on the PK, in fact every defensemen except Yandle.

        • Jul 26, 2016 at 7:47 am

          Yet many wanted to resign Keith to big money, that I couldn’t understand at all ???????????? He was piss poor on defense !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 9:07 pm

      Please read my previous post from Sunday.

    • Jul 26, 2016 at 9:41 am

      If you’re using +/- and 5v5 goals in the same sentence, you already whiffed.

      Yandle was on ice for 1.77 GA/60. Girardi 1.83 per 60. So no, Girardi wasn’t better than Yandle at 5v5 (marginally so), even with goal based analysis.

      Yandle’s +/- has a whole bunch of EN goals against, which is what weighed him down. It also ignores all the PP goals Yandle helped with.

      Of course, the reason we don’t really lean on goal based for these players is because how well Hank plays isn’t really in the defense’s control.

      • Jul 26, 2016 at 12:08 pm

        The last sentence is misleading. The team cannot control how well Hank plays, but they do control how well you think he plays. Even Hank at his best can only stop shots that are possible to stop – and defensive breakdowns create impossible to stop shots. You just don’t see good goalie numbers behind an atrocious defense. [Exhibit A – Lundqvist’s PK save percentage]

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Done Girardi is cooked. Never a good skater, so the injury excuse is convenient. Much, much bigger issue with handling the puck. At least Staalled has the injury excuse with his vision, but both were horrendous moving the puck quickly out of the zone.
    Both contracts are the collective anvil around the team’s future. Gorton will be a magician to get one or both to disappear. Best case is DG will go LITR and Staalled sent to Minny.

    • Jul 26, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      I don’t know why the thumbs downs. Love G, but the reason he flops so much is that he can’t stay on his skates to keep up during the play. That’s a fact, not an opinion, so why people are against your comment is beyond me. Obviously basing it on emotion as opposed to the truth. I gave you a thumbs up for truth.

      Bottom line is this team will go NO WHERE (in terms of contending) if both are on the team at the end of the year. Get used to the concept.

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Everyone is eager to throw Girardi and Staal out the door and hand the defensive responsibilities over to Skjei and McIlrath. Not so fast my friends. Both need quite a bit more time to learn the league. Both elder defenseman still know the game and the players better than the kids do. We need to gradually (this year) transition to the youth. Let them learn while they play and even learn while they watch. If AV shelters Girardi’s minutes, he is more than serviceable.

    The break-out will be better if the offense is around to receive the puck. Buying out their contracts right now does not help. Trust Gorton to know how to do his job. Let the blogger-GMs stick to blogging.

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      Agree that Goorton has shown patience and has done an excellent job since seasons end. Trust him way more than Slats ever.
      For myself AV playing his #2 D with a fractured kneecap tells everything you need to know about how little he was really respected. If DG was getting the job done despite the handicap, well that’s one thing. But he didn’t and the coach has exposed him to unnecessary ridiculous criticism and devalued him as a person, dad, son and player. If I played on that team, I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one shaking my head in disgust and confusion! I mean how do we win the cup with only 5 1/2 D game in and out? Finally, as a player, you know you’re in a flawed system and can’t win so why try to hard. I could get hurt and look how the team handled Danny!

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 4:02 pm

        Maybe G wanted to play, and AV, out of respect, reluctantly allowed G to play and in a role he is accustomed to? That could be the scenario, it’s as likely as other possibilities.

        • Jul 25, 2016 at 4:34 pm

          If that is the case, then it proves that AV is a complete moron & has little regard for the well-being of his players, driven by his desperation to win at all costs. That scenario suggests an abdication of coaching, by not considering the welfare of player & team.

          • Jul 25, 2016 at 4:53 pm

            I was called a loon for bringing this point out by someone, who said calling AV’s acts criminal was way out of line. Well, AV’s acts were criminal knowing that the guy was hurt that long, and still insisting that he could play. Dear friends on this blog, reason #1 I refer to AV as Bozo, Clarabelle, etc., he’s a clown !!!!!!!!!!!!

            Dan will get his shot to prove if he can play, if proven he can’t do so, AV had better play the best defense men on the team.

            • Jul 25, 2016 at 10:02 pm

              Walt, you are preaching to the choir!

              • Jul 26, 2016 at 7:48 am

                check out the knuckles down, I hit a soft spot to many with this post !!!!!!!!!

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      That’s funny!

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Girardi was finished in 2013, his contract was a huge and glaring error. It’s not his knees or his speed. He is cognitively diminished, and the game moves too fast for him. He was undrafted for a reason, and overcame huge odds to become a valuable defenseman despite his lack of any meaningful hockey skills. He can’t skate, puckhandle, shoot, or pass at even an AHL level, and never could. His grit and shotblocking, together with his willingness to give up the body and take on faster, stronger top line forwards worked in Torts’ system. The 80 games immediately prior to his contract were certainly much worse than the 80 prior to that (I’d love a stats guy to look at this), and I was a much-maligned voice in the wilderness saying he was done. You don’t make plays like the giveaways to lose two SCF games, or the stupendous pass to Ovechkin because you have bad knees. You make plays like that when you suffer from multiple concussion syndrome. I’m glad the Rangers made Dan wealthy for the good years he put up and the pain he endured making the most of his limited skills. It’s a shame that we never won a Cup, he helped cost us our best shot, and is now absolutely killing the team with his albatross cap-killer (blue lives matter) contract. In all, Dan G may personally have destroyed this franchise when the truth be told.

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 5:09 pm


    • Jul 25, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      Girardi was undrafted because he had a serious shoulder injury in his two draft eligible years, full stop.

    • Jul 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      But you have to love a guy that backs up his opinion with a good, logical argument. Better than most!

      • Jul 25, 2016 at 7:28 pm

        “Better then MOST???”

        With no dis respect to him or you….If anything, what he sounds like is “MOST!”

        Also, I would have a very hard time to call his opinions “logic” regardless if I agree with him or not. In this case, I absolutely dis agree with him on everything he wrote, but if I were to object to him and were to write the exact opposite, I wouldn’t/COULDN’T consider it as logic.

        For example his opinion that G cost us the Cup, directly blaming him for 2 games! I could argue that till I’m blue in the face. Or, the whole, how could an injury somewhere else on his body, possibly effect his ability to give the puck away….. To me, this opinion is sooo damn outrageous to me, that I’m just better off logging off for the night before I say something I might regret or kick one of my Cats for that matter.

        I’m out….

        PS At least, it gives me a lil sigh of relief that at least some of you are finally giving G and Staal some slack 🙂

        • Jul 25, 2016 at 8:16 pm

          Interesting take….no dis respect taken.

        • Jul 25, 2016 at 8:17 pm

          …and, by the way, logic does not equal truth…Rob

        • Jul 25, 2016 at 9:09 pm

          Slack is all we have left. If any of the other teams thought a recovery was possible they would have made a deal of some sort that would have circumvented the clauses and salary problems. I would venture a guess that both were offered about the league in the hopes some sort of agreement could have been reached. No takers. They all know what the situation is.

  • Jul 25, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Lets be real, he WAS a warrior, beat the odds, but the LA KINGS put everything on his side during the 2014 finals, his game of glaring deficiency became front and center. How can people think that 2 years later, often injured, that Danny G will suddenly become serviceable again????. Now he has us by the Bal**, huge bullet proof contract, no trade clause, the guy can basically come to work, sharpen his skates, tape his stick and run to the bank to cash his checks. (THANKS SATHER)

    • Jul 26, 2016 at 7:57 am

      I posted above that if Dan proves to us, and himself that he can’t play any longer, he’d retire due to pride. I still believe it, and if that is the case, the Rangers should give him the rest of the terms, for being a scout, or something else, so he doesn’t feel like he’s getting charity !!!!!!!!!!! I’m in the court that he doesn’t improve, and everyone out there who supported him will agree that he should have retired after all…………

  • Jul 26, 2016 at 4:15 pm


  • Jul 27, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    I honestly can’t believe anyone would defend Girardi or think he’s magically going to be better next season. That just ignores that facts. To be clear, Girardi is a warrior. He’s a limited talent player who has willed his way into the NHL and held onto a top pair role for longer than he should have. That’s no small feat.

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    However, its irrational to expect him to go anywhere but down. The problem with Girardi isn’t his speed…. its his hands. His ability to move the puck, which is vital to AV’s system by the way, was virtually nonexistent last year and you can’t blame his knee for that. Its also not as though last year was a fluke… consider:

    Last season Girardi was a league worst -389 in 5v5 shot attempts. That means when Girardi was on the ice, the Rangers faced nearly 400 more shots than they took. That’s mindboggling. But…. that wasn’t really an outlier, it was the continuation of a trend. In 14-15 Girardi was 39th worst in the league, with a -219 SAT. He also hasn’t had a positive possession season (which is very strange for a top pair defensemen) since his second season in the NHL, and that year he started 55% of his faceoffs in the offensive zone.

    The problem is perception. Under Torts, Girardi was a shot blocking machine… and that helped fuel a belief that he was a great defensemen. That’s very bad logic, as a defensemen blocking a lot of shots in usually a defensemen that’s unable to get the puck out of his own zone. So while everyone celebrated his fearless shot blocking at the time, it was a sign of just how bad Girardi really is.

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    At the end of the day, will he be better or worse? Who knows…. if he’s any worse than last year the Rangers will have to do something with him because he’ll be too bad to stay in the lineup. Even if he bounces back a little bit, he’ll still be one of the worst top four defensemen in the NHL. Its really a bad situation, and its one the Rangers are stuck with for years to come.

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