As of this morning, defenseman Dan Girardi remains a Ranger. Whether or not that changes remains to be seen.
Rumors first surfaced he could be on the move prior to the roster freeze with the Panthers a possible destination. Last night, there was talk that Glen Sather was in discussions with the Sharks. Girardi is in the final year of his contract earning $1.6 million this season (1.55 cap hit). He'll become a Group II free agent on July 1 and will be due a significant raise which could be in the $3 million range. With other defensemen in play for the club's future, that along with a list of possible replacements could be enough reason to consider trading him. In the event he doesn't re-sign, the Blueshirts would lose him for nothing.
In his fourth season, the 25 year-old Welland, Ontario native who signed as a free agent with the club on July 1, 2006, has been a solid citizen working his way into the top four on the Ranger blueline. As a rookie, he effectively worked with Fedor Tyutin while Marek Malik teamed with lone holdover Michal Rozsival, supplying the club with enough balance to have Buffalo on the ropes before Chris Drury bailed them out.
Fast forward three years later and Girardi has evolved into a steady partner for Marc Staal, who when needed are utilized by John Tortorella as a shutdown tandem. Granted, he's probably better suited as a four or five. But this is the Rangers, who are desperate to dump waste Wade Redden to Edmonton for injury risk Sheldon Souray. Then there's Rozsival, who's game has come together lately but the $5 million price tag will be a tough sell.
With the organization again recalling Corey Potter, it could mean either Mike Del Zotto isn't ready or Girardi's a goner. Factor in Matt Gilroy and Bobby Sanguinetti, who could make it possible for the club to revamp the back end. For a frustrated Ranger fan who's seen Ilkka Heikkinen and Mike Sauer jerked around, the look could've been much different. But given the hefty salaries along with Slats' huge ego, they didn't have any maneuverability. Typical.
If Girardi goes, the question is what for? What exactly is Sather planning? Our D isn't good to begin with. The big picture is moving forward instead of backwards, which is why I'm not crazy about acquiring Souray. Even if his $4.5 M comes off a couple of years from now. I could care less about making the playoffs. Trades like the deals for Nik Antropov and Derek Morris were useless because he wasted assets for rentals.
That can't happen this time. If there's a deal to be had, it has to be with the future in mind. Otherwise, we're stuck in neutral. Don't hold your breath.