UPDATE (5:10): ESPN New York's Katie Strang has details on the "extras" of Girardi's contract.
#NYR Girardi's deal is 6 years, $33 million ( $5.5M AAV) with full NMC in 1st 3 yrs and a modified NTC in final 3 three years of deal
— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) February 28, 2014
Certainly acceptable. Barring anything dramatic, Girardi is likely not a player the Rangers will be rushing to move in those first three years anyway. The final three-years, when things could get more complicated with a declining Girardi, gives the Rangers some room to get creative.
Here are some words from Glen Sather on the deal:
"Dan has been a Ranger for his entire career, signing with us as an undrafted free agent… working his way to become a top defenseman in the NHL. His dedication to this club, both on the ice and in the locker room is invaluable to this team. We are happy to have been able to ensure that he will continue to wear the Blueshirt."
Original Post: The New York Rangers and defenseman Dan Girardi have agreed to a 6-year deal totalling $33 million dollars, according to multiple reports.
6 years, $5.5 per for Girardi staying with Rangers.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 28, 2014
And the New York Rangers have confirmed it themselves.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 28, 2014
Still left to be known is whether some sort of No-Trade Clause is part of the deal. Girardi, turning 30 in April, was the subject of trade rumors but always appeared likely to reach an agreement with the Rangers on a contract extension. Though the biggest elephant in the room, Callahan's situation, still exists, it should be a relief to both Girardi and Sather that this big issue has been settled and Girardi can simply focus on hockey. Keep reading for my thoughts.
I'm not in love with this deal. That being said. it absolutely is a discount from what Girardi could have expected on the free-agent market. The biggest concern here is clearly the term length. Most signings of UFAs are done with an understanding that you're probably going to be overpaying a guy as he ages. But with Girardi's style of play one has to be very concerned with just how bad it could be as he gets into his mid-30s. Douglas Murray, the former Sharks defenseman who played a similar style, hit a steep decline last season at age 32 and, now 33, is barely clinging to a spot in Montreal's lineup.
A source for optimism, however, is the fact that Girardi has been an iron-man his entire career. Girardi has only missed four regular season games since the 2007-2008 season. He is mortal, and eventually his physical, abusive style of play has to catch up to him at some point, but perhaps he can withstand it longer than most.
In any case, Girardi fills an important role on the right side of the defense, is a good hockey player, a homegrown guy who takes pride in representing the team and is a leader. Jay Bouwmeester earned five years at $5.4 Million AAV and is also a slightly better defenseman. In that regard, Girardi's pricetag was a bit heavier than he's probably worth, but it's close enough to justify the extension.
With that, all eyes are now on Ryan Callahan. And whereas Dan Girardi was happily speaking to the media and alluding to "banging out" a contract quickly, Callahan has purposely avoided the media altogether. Maybe the Girardi signing will open his eyes a bit – the two are friends as are both of their wives – and cause him to dramatically drop his demands. Or most likely, it adds another salary to next year's checkbook and gives Sather that much less wiggle room to fit Callahan. We'll see where things go, but for now we can be happy to see a good guy like Dan Girardi, who worked his way up from being an undrafted ECHLer to first-pairing defenseman, get a much deserved payday and represent the Rangers just as he has since his suprising call-up in 2007.
And most importantly, this means as many as six more years of Landon Girardi!
Follow Me On Twitter: @Herman_NYRBlog
Email Me: AdamNYRBlog@gmail.com