Step one: Buyout Girardi
Although Marc Staal was the worse of the two in the playoffs, Dan Girardi is still the guy the Rangers need to buyout this offseason. At age 33, his body is beginning to break down and, while he had a better season statistically (defensive metrics wise) then he did in 15-16, he isn’t nearly good enough to be anything more than a number six defenseman.
Girardi, if bought out, will count against the Rangers’ salary cap for the next six seasons at a discounted rate. Girardi’s cap hit for 17-18 would then be $2.6 million, followed by a $3.6 million cap hit over years two and three of the buyout. In years four through six, Girardi would only cost the Rangers $1.1 million against their salary cap, a very manageable penalty considering the cap should continue to rise, even if it’s ever so slightly like it has over the past few years.
The Rangers buying out the remainder of the veteran’s contract would almost be like addition by subtraction. Girardi, according to Own the Puck’s ‘Hero Chart,‘ was way below replacement level for a third pair defender. The alternate captain has had a great, long, 788 game run with the Rangers but it is now time for it to end.