Dan Girardi has been a cornerstone of the Rangers defense, but not of late. What is the case for Dan Girardi?
If you have been watching the New York Rangers the past couple of seasons, there is one thing for certain.
Dan Girardi, while a warrior, has often been a mess on the ice.
Many projected that the Blueshirts’ longtime defensive defenseman would be gone sometime during the offseason.
Now, as the end of August is approaching, No. 5 is still wearing the iconic blue sweater.
But what does this exactly mean? Do the Rangers believe in him, or is it just that no team is willing to give up prized players for a guy who may be nearing the downhill part of his career?
It very well could be a little of both.
In the simplest terms, the warrior has seen some better days. These days very well may be numbered on Broadway as well.
Dan Girardi clocks in at 6’1″, weighing in at 208 lbs., and is 32 years old. He is not overly big but has been known to dish out hits as well as being able to take them.
He is – perhaps was – nothing less than a gladiator. Coming into last season, Girardi had missed a mere five games throughout a nine-year career on Broadway.
“G,” as he is called in the locker room, quickly made a name for himself in New York.
He became known for his “stay-at-home” style of play rather than playing with an offensive mindset.
This is evident in his point totals.
For example, in 2014-15, Girardi had two goals and 16 assists, totaling 20 points. However, his hit total reached a career-best at 224 and he stayed around his usual number of blocked shots (184).
Herein lies the problem, though.
While Girardi plays through virtually anything, he has taken slapshots to all parts of his body and wouldn’t even wince. There are visible signs of his age and wear-and-tear coming into play.
He just isn’t the same Dan Girardi fans have come to depend on for a big block in the last few minutes of a game.
Now, it’s more of Girardi being known as a liability, costing games rather than winning them.
There were parts of last season where fans were in utter disgust at No. 5’s play on the ice.
The answer: age and battle scars.
Defenseman older than 30 can often drop like flies in the NHL. It has happened countless times.
The years of constant hits and blocked shots can take a toll on anyone, even a man as tough as him.
If the Rangers were looking to shop Dan Girardi, they are running into a problem. Realistically, is Girardi a good option for any team right now, aside from the one team who is technically stuck with him?
Not many would be willing to take a chance like that given his age and the performance fans had to witness last season. However, this is the NHL and anything could happen. Martin St. Louis was traded to the Rangers for Ryan Callahan, for example.
No one saw that one coming.
The Rangers, more than likely, will keep Girardi around for this upcoming season and will wait and see what he provides. The offseason may prove the saving grace and he could come back better than ever. Or the Blueshirts find out that they are done and will want to move Girardi or simply buy him out of his deal.
Either that or a trade would have to happen.
Girardi is under contract until 2019-20, including a no movement clause for 2016-17, with a modified no-trade clause for the rest of the contract.
His cap hit is $5.5 million, so that may also play a factor in the equation as well.
Whichever way this unfolds, guess what? Hockey is almost back, and, boy, does it feel good …