What would Lightning get in Dan Girardi?
For all of what we don't know yet - whether the Lightning will snag Kevin Shattenkirk or Justin Williams - it does sound like Tampa Bay may acquire defenseman Dan Girardi.
Girardi, 33, who was bought out by the Rangers, is reportedly expected to sign with Tampa Bay today. Not sure on how much, or for how long, though would think it's a short-term deal.
The veteran is coming off a down year, struggling in most analytic metrics, and a career-low 15 points. Girardi has been banged up, though, the past two seasons, including missing a month late in the season recovering from a right ankle wound suffered blocking a shot. The fact Girardi played in 759 of possible 764 games (including playoffs) from 2006-2014-15 no doubt took its toll.
So what would the Lightning be getting in Girardi?
"He's not a top-four guy anymore," said Rangers color analyst Joe Micheletti, a former NHL defenseman. "I don't think he's a top-four player, but he can help a team if the numbers are right and the minutes are right and the situation is right."
Would appear Giradi is more suited for a depth defenseman role, which is why the signing seemed puzzling for the Lightning, which has seven NHL ready defensemen (if you include Mikhail Sergachev), and Slater Koekkoek/Jake Dotchin pushing for more time. TSN's Bob McKenzie reported the rumor is Girardi will make more with the buyout/TB deal than the $4 million he'd make this year with the Rangers. That's good money for a third-pairing defenseman.
The real need is a top-four guy, which is why the Lightning is still in the mix for Shattenkirk.
But Girardi would be a great leader in the room, no doubt vouched for by former Rangers teammates Anton Stralman and Ryan Callahan, who is a good friend. He's played in 122 career playoff games and is still chasing his first Stanley Cup.
A shot-blocker and penalty killer? Yes. But if the Lightning is looking for a puck-moving defenseman, he's not it.
"He's never been a player that had speed to his game, even when he's healthy," Micheletti said. "But he's always been a smart positional player that blocks shots, and hits and he's been hampered by injuries the last few years. How much does he have left? It's hard to say. A lot of times coaches can't tell you how hurt he is, you never know how close to 100-percent he is. He plays a hard game, a gutsy game."
"I know one thing. He's a really good teammate, good citizen, low maintenance. Ego is never an issue."
Lightning color analyst Brian Engblom, a former Stanley Cup winning defenseman, said Girardi was hard to judge considering you don't know how close he was to 100-percent the past couple years. But for a Lightning team that often struggled in its own zone, and getting the puck out, Girardi can be a stabilizing influence, Engblom said.
"It makes it hard to judge guys later on in his career and he gets hurt, he doesn't have the season he normally does," Engblom said. "But (Girardi) has always been a dependable guy. He's been a mainstay, top-four guy, a shutdown guy, and that's his reputation..
"He's a stabilizing kind of guy. He can help you shut things down when things are getting messy in your own end. He's got a lot of savvy, knows how to slow things down, get control of the game and simplify it."