As a Rangers fan, I have had the honor of watching Marc Staal and Dan Girardi continuously shut down opponents' No. 1 lines for a couple of years. I love the way Girardi plays. He is a real "heart and soul" kind of guy and is willing to sacrifice his body for the team. He was amongst the league leaders in shots blocked this past season and was huge for the Rangers.
I love the way he plays and he has endeared himself to Rangers fans. However, how long can he keep up this style of play? I think the Rangers should put him on the market and get the most for him while his stock is still high.
So here are 10 teams that would be wiling to trade for him if the Rangers should put him on the trading block.
Girardi was signed in July 2006 after going undrafted by the Rangers. He quickly became a prized prospect and made his Rangers debut in 2007. He recently signed a four-year deal worth $13.3 million. His cap hit is $3.325 million.
In 360 NHL regular-season games, he has 24 goals and 111 points. Girardi is one of the more underrated defensemen in the league and has given the Rangers more than they could have ever asked for.
The Rangers are deep on defense with young kids coming up. The Rangers recently traded away two second-round picks in this year's draft to Calgary for Tim Erixon, who will be a defenseman for the Rangers this year. I think if the Rangers do trade Girardi, they will seek a draft pick and a player or just a player if the trade is even enough.
The Sabres were good offensively last year and with Ryan Miller in net, they will always be competitive. With Girardi, even less shots would get to the net with his shot-blocking ability. The Sabres don't have a lot of pieces the Rangers would want so they are not that likely to complete a deal with the Rangers.
Proposed Trade: Second-rounder for Girardi.
The Canadiens always have a good attack and with the emergence of Carey Price, a stay-at-home defender may be what they need. Girardi does not provide much offensively (he has a nice low shot and can move the puck relatively well) but his defensive skills would work for Montreal.
Montreal has multiple free agents on the defensive side so trading for one would let a free agent go. Girardi can also teach Montreal defenders about blocking shots. The Rangers might seek Max Pacioretty, who would save the Rangers about a $1 million in cap space. A late-round draft pick may get thrown in as well. I doubt Montreal would be willing to part with Pacioretty.
Proposed Trade: Second-round pick for Girardi.
The Predators would be a good fit for Girardi because their whole team is a "win by committee" kind of deal. They don't have any superstars besides Shea Weber and the rest of the team is a gritty team, much like Girardi. They do the simple things right and score at opportune times.
I was looking at Jordin Tootoo but I'm not too impressed with him. Nashville could throw the Rangers Tootoo and a third-round pick for Girardi but I don't know how thrilled the Rangers would be with it.
Proposed Trade: Tootoo ($1.25 million) and third-round pick for Girardi.
The Maple Leafs could use a player like Girardi to teach Luke Schenn and some of the other younger kids about the gritty part of hockey (not that they don't play that way now). Girardi would be a great example to them. With Phaneuf and Komisarek, the Maple Leafs are less likely to trade for a 28-year-old defenseman in a rebuilding project.
Still, for argument's sake, I was looking at Colby Armstrong, who has a $3 million cap hit. He's a gritty player who can score some points, fitting in with the Rangers style. A low draft pick may be necessary to sweeten the pot.
Proposed Trade: Colby Armstrong and a sixth-round pick for Girardi.
First off, let us congratulate the city of Winnipeg for officially becoming an NHL city again. I wish you the best and hope you remain there forever.
Winnipeg is another team who can use a veteran, gritty defenseman like Girardi. They have Byfugien who has a monster shot but no real shutdown defender. They had one of the worst defenses last year and questionable goalie play (which I expect to improve). A shot-blocker like Girardi could do wonders for their team.
I was looking at a guy like Bryan Little in return. Little can be explosive at times but can disappear at others. I think him getting out of Atlanta (either by staying in Winnipeg or getting traded) is going to be good for him. I would take a chance on him. He has a $2.4 million cap hit, still saving $1 million. Also, with Winnipeg's imminent move to the Western Conference next year, I would be more willing to trade him to the other conference. Throw in a late pick.
Proposed Trade: Bryan Little and sixth-round pick for Girardi.
The Lightning sure have enough scoring. The Lightning defense is very offensive-minded. I think a guy like Girardi could make this a more complete team. With the shot-blocking, he provides a new element to the team that can buckle down and hold a lead rather than trying to out-score an opponent.
I looked at Steve Downie, who intrigued me. Downie can play but he also could benefit by playing with such great players in Lecavalier, Stamkos and St. Louis. He comes with a $1.85 million cap hit, saving about $1.5 million for the Rangers. Again, throw in a late pick.
Proposed Trade: Steve Downie and sixth-round pick for Girardi.
Now this is an interesting one because the Rangers and Coyotes are good trading partners. Dave Maloney works for the Rangers radio team, while his brother Don works as the general manager for Phoenix. These teams completed trades for Derek Morris, Lauri Korpikoski, Enver Lisin and this year Michal Roszival for Wojtek Wolski.
The Coyotes are going to lose skill at the goaltender position, so a shot-blocker would ease the burden on the new goalie. Girardi can play at home for them. Kyle Turris is a restricted free agent and he is young (which fits with the Rangers getting younger) and may benefit from leaving Phoenix. I would love to have Turris and try him out on Broadway.
Proposed Trade: Kyle Turris for Dan Girardi.
The Blue Jackets already stole one underrated defenseman from the Rangers for a scrub (I know you remember the Nik Zherdev for Fedor Tyutin disaster. Do you know who the other player the Rangers got in that trade was? Dan Fritsche. He played like two games for them. Thanks Sather), so why not complete another one?
Girardi would provide defensive stability for the Jackets. Jakub Voracek was mentioned in the Jeff Carter rumors. He was drafted seventh overall in 2007 and is still only 21. Getting out of small-market Columbus may help (we said the same thing about Zherdev but I'm trying to be optimistic). He is a restricted free agent who had a cap hit of $1.3 million last year. So even if he wants to double his previous contract, the Rangers still save close to $500,000. I would take the risk.
Proposed Trade: Jakub Voracek for Girardi.
Detroit was overjoyed that Nick Lidstrom decided to come back. Now they have to replace Brian Rafalski. Trading for Girardi would help plug that hole. Girardi would make the Wings younger and play a good defensive style of hockey in front of Jimmy Howard, who struggled at times this year.
The Red Wings would be willing, but they don't really have much to offer to the Rangers. I would try and get a player for Girardi but if the Red Wings come calling and offer a first or second-round pick, I'd take it.
Proposed Trade: Second-round pick for Girardi.
You can't tell me that Dan Girardi would not be the perfect fit for San Jose. Remember a few years ago when Patrick Marleau jumped over the puck instead of blocking it in the playoffs and we all criticised the Sharks for having no heart? Dan Girardi provides that heart. He will sacrifice the body and that is exactly what the Sharks need to get over the hill.
Now, this is interesting because I think a perfect trade would be Devin Setoguchi for Girardi. Setoguchi is a restricted free agent who made $1.8 million last year so double it and the Rangers lose a little bit of salary cap. The Rangers could use a winger and need secondary scoring. I think the trade works out for both teams.
Proposed Trade: Devin Setoguchi for Girardi.
I haven't heard any rumblings about Girardi getting traded, so this is all speculative. As much as I love Girardi, if the Rangers come across the right deal, I would trade him in a heartbeat. His value is high and the Rangers have weaknesses in other areas.
Did I forget a team? Did a trade not look right? Should Girardi be traded? Let me know about it in comments.
Thanks for the read.