33-Year-Old Defenseman – New York Rangers
Dan Girardi Contract Information:
Signed a six-year, $33 million extension with the Rangers in February of 2014.
Girardi managed just four goals and 11 assists while going plus-8 over 63 games this past season.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Girardi has been a rock on the Rangers' blue line for the better part of the last decade, and he's set to remain in that role for the next several years. Despite the fact that the undrafted veteran is capable of jumping into the play as well as taking some wicked shots from the point, he generally makes his hay in the defensive zone, allowing Ryan McDonagh the freedom to venture deep. Those in fantasy leagues that count hits and blocked shots know Girardi's real-life value -- unfortunately, in more standard formats, Girardi's meager offensive output and lack of PIM often doesn't play.
Aside from his impending unrestricted free agency heading into last season, Girardi represented all that was dependable defensively on the Rangers’ blue line, with just a splash of offensive output to boot. While we hesitate to blame the sizable contract extension (six years, $33 million) he would ultimately receive at the trade deadline, Girardi ended up closing the season on a low note, delivering one of the more tumultuous postseasons the eight-year veteran has experienced in his career. In addition to the possibility of his defensive struggles during last year's Stanley Cup Finals carrying over into the 2014-15 campaign and impacting his usually positive plus/minus rating, Girardi’s so-so scoring production (he has a career-high of 31 points in a season) limits his fantasy upside to little more than that of a late-round backup plan on the blue line.
Girardi is coming off a down season and not just because of the number in his lockout shortened points column. He still managed 14 points (two goals, 12 assists), 102 hits and 125 blocks in just 46 games. But for the first time since 2009-10, he ended the season with a negative plus-minus (minus-1). The undrafted Ontario native is one of several blue-liners in New York capable of producing 30 points or more in a full season. He's less likely to be on fantasy wish lists than his teammates Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal, so feel confident about Girardi's upside if your targeted middle-to-late round defenseman is already off the board.
Girardi had an extremely successful 2011-12 campaign as he fell two points short of his career-high 29 from last season, finishing fourth among all players in average time-on-ice. The 28-year-old will again anchor the Blueshirts' top defensive pairing in 2012-13 with Ryan McDonagh and should be able to maintain his spot among the league's ice-time leaders. Girardi's assists and plus-minus rating have been on the rise over the last two seasons, and he should provide an excellent return for fantasy owners that are willing to spend a mid-to-late round pick on him. Those in leagues that reward secondary categories such as hits and blocked shots will want to target Girardi earlier than usual, as, like his teammate Ryan Callahan, Girardi will be among the league leaders in those categories.
The last two years Girardi has paired with Marc Staal, representing one of the top defensive tandems in the league. The Rangers' offense should be a little more consistent with Brad Richards' arrival and the maturation of the team's younger skaters. As a result, it should be realistic for the blueliner to return to the 30-35 point range, putting him on the map as a fourth option at his position in standard leagues. Fantasy owners involved in pools that give defensive points have extra incentive to nab Girardi, as the two-way defender picked up 195 hits and 236 blocks last season alone.
Girardi’s 2009-10 season got off to a bang when he tallied three goals and two assists in his first seven games. However, Girardi’s numbers ended up right on par with his previous season – he finished the year with just six goals and 18 assists while playing in all 82 games for the Rangers. While Marc Staal and Girardi are clearly the future on the blue line for the Blueshirts, the 26-year-old just doesn’t possess enough offensive skill to deserve a fantasy roster spot in most leagues. Girardi doesn’t see much time on the power play, and while his 10 goals from three years ago might look promising, he is clearly a defensive-minded blueliner, so temper any expectations. Bank on the hard-hitting defenseman to finish the upcoming season with around 5-8 goals, close to 30 points, and over 50 penalty minutes.
Girardi played in all 82 games for the second season in a row last year, but his numbers didn't reflect any progress from his rookie year for the 25-year old. He lost six goals from two years ago and we went from an even +/- to a minus-14. Barring an unexpected breakthrough, it looks like we've see Girardi near the top of his game already. He'll likely hold steady being in just his mid-20s, but don't expect a big uptick in production.
Girardi scored 10 goals and accumulated 28 points in 82 games for the Rangers last season. Not someone you would key on, but might be worth a reserve spot late in your draft.
Girardi came up during the season for a quick look and has stuck on the big club ever since. He's steady defensively and won't make many mistakes; attributes in which the Rangers absolutely love about him. Although he isn't guaranteed a roster spot coming into this year, he'll definitely have a leg up after proving that he can hang with the big boys and not get rattled by the pressures of New York. In 34 games in 2006-07, Girardi recorded six assists, eight PIMs and a plus-7 on even strength.
While with the Wolfpack this season, Girardi has recorded eight goals, 31 assists for 39 points in 66 games played, and has amassed 44 PIMs and has been resposible in his defensive zone, posting a plus-14 rating.