So, its been an nice month of January so far for our Rangers: a strong 7-3 record and the trade for Kevin Klein have been good signs for this team as they have finally broken .500 and should continue to improve. Now comes a very important decision to make for Glen Sather. The Rangers have two major free agents hitting the free agent market this summer if not signed or traded; Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan. While in an ideal world, the team would sign both and not have to worry about salary and other factors, in reality keeping both of them is slowly proving to be unrealistic. So who goes?
Well, I think that Dan Girardi should be the guy too go. Per NHL network's Bob McKenzie "Dan Girardi is looking for a long-term deal, seven-years, and upwards of money similar to what Jay Bouwmeester is being paid, $5.4 million. Girardi will get that type of contract if he becomes a UFA". Don't get me wrong, Girardi was one of the best things that happened to the Rangers over the last ten years, but he has shown to be at best incompatible with Alain Vigneault's new system. Girardi's game doesn't suit the puck possession game AV wants the team to play and a $5.4 million cap hit is too much for a defenseman who will struggle to contribute to the play. Girardi definitely deserves the money. He is one of the hardest working players in the game and puts his team before himself. He has been a great defender over the years and his play would translate well for a team like the Boston Bruins or Vancouver Canucks who are playing a tight checking, defensive system.
The reason Ryan Callahan should be kept is because he means so much to this team. This season's injuries are not all that common of an occurrence for Callahan who will usually not miss many games. In his 7 season career, Callahan has played less than 76 games only twice; in his rookie season and in 2010-2011 (not counting the lockout). To say he is injury prone is a fallacy. He provides many of the intangibles this team needs to stay afloat: steady leadership, grit, and energy. Not to mention he averages a little over 20 goals and assists each season while slowly approaching the 30 goal mark over the last three seasons. He provides scoring depth as a top six forward and leads the team.
Now, what would Dan Girardi fetch in return? Most likely a defender of equal calibre or a nice pair of prospects and/or draft picks. Defenders like Girardi are in short supply in the league and most fringe contender teams would jump at the opportunity to upgrade their Defense with a player like him. That means, a reliable veteran can be acquired who maybe fits AV's mold a little better. A possibility would be one of AV's former players, Alex Edler. Edler has had a horrific season due to injury and incompatibility with Tortorella's collapsing defensive game. Like Girardi, he has not had success with his new coach. While his trade value is down, it would make sense for the Rangers to acquire him. He has good offensive and defensive instincts and if this deal were to be made, it would instantly upgrade both teams' defensive corps.
What do you guys think?