The Tampa Bay Lightning have added to their defensive corps on the first day of free agency, signing recently bought out New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi to a two-year, $6MM deal, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. Girardi, who was scheduled to make $4MM with the Rangers this season, will now make $3MM yearly from the Lightning plus $1.1MM annually from his buyout, which puts him over what he would have made in New York.
Girardi is a polarizing player in the NHL. Many, including plenty of Rangers fans, felt that he was over-rated and overpaid in New York and is incapable of being a top-four defenseman in the NHL any more. Others rave about Girardi’s character and leadership and feel that he is a valuable asset. Regardless, Girardi will likely play a bottom-pair role for Tampa, but will be well-compensated to do so. The Lightning simply hope they are not the newest team to overpay Girardi and can instead get the most out of the veteran.
Girardi is coming off a career-low 15 points in 2016-17 and saw a drop off in hits and blocked shots as well. However, at one point Girardi was a guaranteed 20-30 point player who excelled at the defensive aspects of the game. The only question is which version of Girardi did the Lightning just commit to?