Lightning Sign Dan Girardi

The Tampa Bay Lightning have added to their already impressive defensive core by signing the physical blueliner Dan Girardi, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

The deal is a reported two-year deal worth $6 million. Therefore his new contract will carry and AAV of $3 million, according to McKenzie. It will give Girardi a better payout than what he was receiving before the New York Rangers bought him out earlier this month with his $3-million AAV along with his $1.1-million buyout from the Rangers.

Girardi will join an already impressive blue line squad in Tampa with Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman and future Lightning Mikhail Sergachev who came over in the Jonathan Drouin trade from Montreal.

Girardi: A Numbers Game

The big blueliner has played his entire 11-year career with the Rangers, debuting during the 2006-07 season where he played 34 games and racked up six assists for the club.

Not known for his offensive abilities, the 33-year-old has collected 46 goals and 230 points over 788 career regular season games in New York. The bigger numbers when we’re talking about Girardi are his 275 career penalty minutes, his almost 1,800 career hits and almost 1,700 career blocked shots. On top of that, the six-foot-one defenceman averages over 22 minutes of ice-time over his career.

Last season, for the Rangers, he played 63 regular season games with four goals and 15 points to show for it. He averaged just over 19 minutes in ice-time and had 166 blocked shots.

Dan Girardi, New York Rangers, NHL
Dan Girardi isn’t known for his offensive touch, rather his physical play in the defensive end. (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

He also comes with a lot of playoff experience, having been to the postseason in 10 seasons with the Rangers. Over that span he’s collected 33 points (six goals and 27 assists) in 122 career playoff games – again being a major factor on the defensive end and averaging well-over 23 minutes per game.

Playing the Thunder to Tampa’s Lightning

While Girardi could essentially fit in as a top four defenceman, the reality is that he could likely slide into the Tampa lineup at any of the six defensive spots on the roster. He’s a stay-at-home type of player with a physical game that can deter opposing players from playing the puck into his corner.

That being said, he’s not the quickest on his feet, but should add another dimension to a club that is filled with puck-moving, quick skating defensemen like Hedman, Stralman and now Sergachev.

Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL
Girardi is the perfect addition to a blue line already stockpiled with Hedman, Stralman and Sergachev. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

So long as the lineup stays healthy, this could be a great opportunity for Girardi to help the Lightning make a significant push in the postseason. He’ll look to bring all of his experience from the past 11 seasons to the table as he can add a lot to a young Lightning team. On top of that, the Girardi signing simply solidifies GM Steve Yzerman’s ability to build a competitive team.