New York Rangers: Who’s more worthy of a buyout, Girardi or Staal?

Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Rangers have two mediocre, overpaid defensemen on their roster. If they can only buyout one of them this offseason, which one should it be?

The New York Rangers’ season is over, and just like at the end of last season, it’s time to talk about the possibility of the team buying one of their veteran defensemen out of their enormous contracts.

Both Dan Girardi and Marc Staal have a cap hit of over $5.5 million for the next three seasons (four seasons for Staal). After a regular season that once again saw Dan Girardi further his status as a liability, Marc Staal saw that and raised him a couple of blown playoff games in April and early May.

The Numbers

Girardi had four goals and 11 assists from the back end this year in 63 games. Staal had three goals and seven assists in 72 games, so their numbers were pretty even in those categories.

It is worth noting that Girardi entered the league as an offensive defenseman and has a pretty hard shot from the point which can cause some damage. Obviously, he doesn’t and will never contribute like an offensive defenseman, but in this area, he has the advantage over Staal.

Hits and blocks wise, Girardi also seems to have the advantage. He was fifth on the team in hits (107) and led the team in blocks (166), something that he is used to doing. Staal had 89 hits on the year, which ranked 5th among Rangers defenseman who played at least 55 games in their uniform this past season. He also blocked 97 shots.

The Advanced Numbers

Girardi and Staal’s advanced statistics have never been too kind to them over the years. This past season was no exception.

Staal’s CF% of 46.8% was above two defensemen on the team; Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi. Now, you’re probably asking, “how in the world is McDonagh’s corsi for worse?” Well, when you play on a pairing with Dan Girardi…

There is a reason why Girardi is often referred to as a possession anchor. Girardi had a corsi for of 44.2% this past season, ranking next to last on the team in front of Kevin Hayes. Of course, his competition is much greater than Staal’s, as he sees the opposition’s best line game after game. Even with that said though, there is no reason for a players numbers to be that bad.

If you wanna see an even worse number, when you look at Girardi’s CA numbers, 65% of the shots on goal when he is on the ice are made by the other team. Yuck.

The Playoffs

Girardi actually looked serviceable in the Montreal series. Maybe it was because the Rangers were playing a more physical game or that Montreal was a much slower team–actually, that probably is the reason–but Girardi had a solid series.

Marc Staal, not so much…

Staal and Nick Holden were an absolute disaster in not only the Montreal series, but in the Ottawa series as well. They were on the ice for all of the blown third period leads that led to overtime losses. Alain Vigneault also deserves some blame here for not putting his players in the best possible position to succeed.

If Staal had any trade value before the playoffs, it is surely all gone by now.

The Economics of a Buyout

Girardi has three more seasons with a $5.5 million cap hit on his contract. If the Rangers were to buy him out this summer, the Rangers cap will be hit with Girardi’s buyout fee for the next six seasons at a reduced rate. According to CapFriendly, Girardi’s cap hit would be $2.6 million next season, $3.6 the two seasons after that, and $1.1 for the three seasons following those.

Staal has a $5.7 million cap hit over the next four seasons. His buyout numbers would work like this:

17-18- $2.1 million

18-19- $2.1 million

19-20- $3.1 million

20-21- $3.9 million

21-22- $1.4 million

22-23- $1.4 million

23-24- $1.4 million

24-25- $1.4 million

So with Staal, as you see, the Rangers would be paying in higher increments over a longer period of time.

The Conclusion

Before the Rangers make this decision, they must see if there is any way to deal either one of them in a trade. Get a 7th round pick. Get a bag of pucks, I don’t care. Removing either of them from the roster is addition by subtraction at this point.

The Rangers could probably live with one of them being on their third pair going forward in sheltered minutes. On the one hand, it would be best to get rid of Staal since he has the longer term remaining on his deal and the slightly bigger cap hit. On the other hand, Girardi’s buyout would be much nicer to the Rangers salary cap going forward.

Next: 2017 Report Cards: Dan Girardi

The Rangers could always just buyout Girardi this summer and buyout Staal next summer when the price of his buyout will be much cheaper and the term for the buyout’s cap will be shorter. It will be interesting to see where this goes, but this seems to be the best route available unless a trade where to be available to them, even if they must retain 50% of their salary.