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Girardi To Be Bought Out, Stepan On The Block? & More

Today is one of the tougher days in the storied history of the New York Rangers franchise as the difficult decision was made to buyout the remaining three years of Dan Girardi’s contract.

With the Rangers cap situation and lack of trade value for Girardi and Marc Staal, if Jeff Gorton wanted to upgrade his porous defense this had to be done. But I’m not celebrating. I’m going to be honest, this is a tough one.

The Rangers ascension out of the depth of awfulness that was the early 2000s and into one of the great playoff runs this franchise has ever seen basically coincided with Girardi’s career on Broadway.

The Rangers have treated their fans to some amazing moments during the last 11 years and Girardi was a participant in all of them. Every. Single. One.

The undrafted free agent skated in 788 of 820 regular season games the Rangers played from the time he made his NHL debut on Jan. 27, 2007 through the end of the 2016-17 regular season. He is also the franchise’s all-time leader in playoff games played (among skaters) with 122.

Whether it was putting his body on the line…

Scoring a big goal…

Or providing a veteran presence in the locker room…

Dan Girardi laid it all on the line for the New York Rangers. And that’s all you can really ask from a player who wears the crest of the team you root for.

While it wasn’t easy watching Girardi’s game deteriorate in front of our eyes these last few years, let’s not forget that his body began to betray him for the very reason we loved him: Because he left it all out on the ice every night.

Sure, after 2,038 career blocked shots you’d think he was a cyborg, but that kind of punishment takes it’s toll and it showed. Girardi deserved accolades and praise for playing through the pain, instead he was the recipient of hate and vitriol from Rangers fans in recent years. It wasn’t his fault Glen Sather offered him that ridiculous contract nor that Alain Vigneault refused to provide this warrior the requisite rest he required.

Despite the constant criticism from a certain segment of Rangers fans, the large majority of the Blueshirts Faithful stood by him through thick and thin. To me, the fact that Girardi somehow escaped fan ire after the Carcillo/Gaborik incident is a tribute to how much respect he earned with his hard nose play. This also helped:

I don’t know about you, but I’ll sure as hell be rooting for him to catch on with another team.

Good luck, Dan. And thank you.

As far as Girardi’s buyout goes, it will be spread out over the next six seasons: $2,611,111 for 2017-18, $3,611,111 for the following two seasons and $1,111,111 for each of the three seasons after through 2022-23.

There are plenty of variables that likely went into Gorton’s decision to buyout Girardi over Staal. Paramount in my opinion was the length of the buyout. Whereas Girardi’s will be paid out over the next six seasons, for Staal it would have been the next eight. That’s a long time to carry dead cap space. I also wonder if the Rangers came to the conclusion that Staal does in fact have trade value. Having said that, Girardi did prove himself to be far superior on the ice during last postseason when Staal was an absolute liability.

With the Rangers armed with cap space and an open expansion draft protection slot, you have to wonder if Brendan Smith will be re-signed sooner rather than later.

Speaking of cap space:

With the Girardi buyout and Kevin Klein likely retiring, I didn’t think moving Derek Stepan would be necessary. Man, looks like Gorton isn’t messing around.

If Gorton is going to move Stepan, I’d love to see him replicate the Brassard/Zibanejad trade or turn his de facto #1 center into a stud defenseman such as Trouba or Faulk.

In other minor news:

The Rangers become expansion draft compliant by re-signing Puempel giving them two forwards under contact to expose…

And made some organizational hires…

It’s great to have Jed back in the fold. Always loved the Hollweg-Moore-Ortmeyer line! #HMOLine

Remember to follow me on TwitterFacebook & Instagram or e-mail me at nyrfan94@yahoo.com.

9 thoughts on “Girardi To Be Bought Out, Stepan On The Block? & More

  1. I understand the pimple signing. I have no idea why Stepan is on the trade block. I’m quite sad Girardi got bought out over staal. Look we all know the rangers are going to overpay for shittykirk, just look at Wade Redden if you need a reminder of what’s going to happen with that one. The rumor of jumbo Joe coming to NY well fits the sather ways but I still don’t know if the team is deep enough at center to trade Stepan. Please for the love of all that is good, trade staal put him down. And lastly don’t over pay for Smith. Just look at his bonehead mistakes in Detroit.

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    1. With the G buyout and Klein retirement, Rangers should be able to upgrade the defense without trading Stepan so I’m not sure of Gorton’s thinking here.

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  2. Nice to see Dan bow out with a resurgent season, capped off by a playoff performance reminiscent of his hey Day. With modest skills heart and soul Alone elevated him to top pairing status on a playoff quality team. Says a lot for the character of this athlete and criticism only comes because of a head coach who’s a dope using him in situations he was no longer qualified to perform in IMO. Dan G is a warrior which made him an impeccable competitor and team mate and I’m gonna miss him. His buyout over Staal may be age related and perhaps given Staal’s career was derailed by an awful injury Gorts may still see potential. Step appears to be out of favor with team mates. We know little of team dynamics since much of it happens behind closed doors but he may have tipped his hand a bit in the incident with Hank against Ottawa. I hope he can be moved at his salary. He’s been a good player for us more than not but he seemed to bring our whole team down this past post season. The fact is Gorts has to do some pretty drastic things if this team is to be a factor in next season’s playoffs.

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  3. What I don’t get is why not try and trade him( effective July 1st) to one of the 16 teams not on his list? We could have held 21/2-3 million of it and would have been done in 3 years and might have gotten back a draft pick as well. Plus there is another buy out window in a few weeks. I don’t get why this wasn’t considered. Unless there is another trade coming before the expansion draft for a D-man who has to be protected, I think the front office didn’t get this done the right way!

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    1. They must have known there wasn’t a market for Girardi, so they bought him out before the expansion draft in the hopes of re-signing Smith and protecting him.

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