In an earlier post about Larry Brooks wanting the Rangers to go after Gaborik, I mentioned that the Rangers may find that Dan Girardi has become expendable between now and the trade deadline next year. Obviously, Girardi is one of the top Ranger defenders, and should only be moved to fill a hole for the long term, and not a mercenary for the playoffs (see: Morris, Derek).
But why is Girardi expendable? Well, for starters, he isn’t Marc Staal, and both of them have contracts up at the end of next season. With the cap going down, and both in line for raises, it could become a sticky situation. Girardi has shown himself to be capable on both sides of the puck. Early last season, he was racking up the points, until Tom Renney switched up the defensive pairings and put him with Wade Redden, and then his production plummeted faster than the stock market in October. Ironically enough, both drops occured around the same time. Is the stock market tied to Dan Girardi’s production? I’ll crunch the numbers in a future post*.
The drop in point production could, and probably is, in direct correlation to the new pairing. After all, Redden is supposed to be jumping in on the play, and Girardi is going to have to cover for him when he does. But what alarmed me was how often Girardi got beat by a rushing attacker driving into the zone wide. Does this alone make him expendable? No, not at all. After all, skating and positioning can be fixed.
What makes him expendable, is that with teams in need of young, somewhat cheap defensemen, Girardi’s stock is as high as it is going to be. If the Rangers can package him for a Jiri Hudler, then I say jump on it as fast as you can. The fact that he is NHL ready boosts his trade value considerably, and with Gilroy presumably NHL-ready, Sanguinetti and Sauer playing well in Hartford, and Del Zotto on his way, the loss of Girardi won’t be that damaging to the future of the club. If anything, this defensive depth will help the Rangers in packaging him, maybe in hopes of dumping a contract, for an available, top flight scorer. Adding Girardi to a package containing Scott Gomez and his bloated salary definately makes a trade a little more palatable from the other team’s standpoint.
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