Since joining the New York Rangers, Daniel Girardi has been one of the team's top blueliners, but he is at a point in his career where there is uncertainty on the horizon. Girardi is a free agent at the end of the 2013-14 season, and there are already a number of teams that have shown interest in the Rangers' blueliner.
So far there have been a couple of names thrown out, so here is a breakdown of the speculation involving Girardi.
Although Girardi's name has been tossed around for a couple of weeks, Larry Brooks of the New York Post fanned the flames after writing an article that pondered what the Rangers should do with him and Ryan Callahan.
Sather must perform his due diligence and be aggressive about it. Girardi, who doesn't turn 30 until late April, is as high-end a rental property as has gone on the market since Ilya Kovalchuk in 2010, if not Marian Hossa in 2008. The Rangers have every right and every obligation - to demand a package of two "A" prospects, maybe already in the NHL or maybe not, plus a draft pick in return for Girardi.
Brooks went on to name a couple of teams that could show interest, and this story seems to be the genesis of legitimate rumors involving the rearguard.
Rumored Return: Sami Vatanen and Kyle Palmieri, Patrick Maroon or Rickard Rakell
Does It Make Sense?: This deal makes sense for many reasons. Girardi could be one of the youngest shutdown defenders to hit free agency in recent memory. He is an All-Star player capable of logging upwards of 25:00 a game, and he would bolster an Anaheim Ducks team that appears to be a Stanley Cup contender.
Although the Ducks would not want to move a top prospect like Vatanen, they have Hampus Lindholm in the system, and he projects to be a quality all-around defender, according to The Hockey News.
The only thing that could change in this potential deal is the inclusion of a draft pick, because the Rangers need to strengthen their prospect pool in the worst way.
Alexander Khokhlachev. is a prospect the Rangers could be interested in.
Source: Glenn Healy of TSN
Rumored Return: Top forward prospect, top defense prospect and draft pick
Does It Make Sense?: Absolutely. The Bruins have a ton of youngsters currently on the roster, so they can afford to part with some prospects for an established defender like Girardi. The Bruins' style of hockey is made for Girardi. He can hit, block shots and would be a great replacement for the injured Dennis Seidenberg.
However, the price will be key, and the Rangers may have to lower the asking price slightly to hammer out a deal with the Bruins before the deadline.
Girardi could be a hot free agent or commodity at deadline.
Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers' back end is very young and inexperienced. Girardi could be a calming veteran influence.
Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs' blue line features a number of youngsters that have had inconsistent seasons. Girardi would be a right-handed shot and a physical, shutdown blueliner.
Los Angeles Kings: Girardi could replace some of the young blueliners currently on the roster. Plays "West Coast" style of hockey.
San Jose Sharks: See above.
Sather has the opportunity to make some trade magic.
Ultimately, this writer feels that Girardi should, and will, be traded. It is a simple decision—one Glen Sather should make quickly. As Larry Brooks wrote, Girardi has the potential to be one of the hottest commodities at the deadline.
It makes little sense for the Rangers to make a long-term investment in him if they can kill multiple birds with one stone by dealing their workhorse defender. The Rangers need to restock the cupboard, and they need some draft picks.
Dealing Girardi should net them at least a draft pick and/or a prospect, so it makes too much sense to trade him instead of keeping him.