We've talked a lot about Dan Girardi and his impact on the team in this space. Like, we've really talked about it. And, as always, I want to make it clear that this has nothing to do with Dan Girardi the person, this has everything to do with Dan Girardi the hockey player -- who is signed for five more years, with a NMC that turns into a limited NTC and is eating up $5.5-million per year in cap space.
Girardi, genuinely, seems like an awesome guy. He was one of my favorite players from the 24/7 series. He never misses a game; he is seemingly a robot in that regard. He blocks a ton of shots. He does whatever he thinks he needs to do to win. I'm almost positive he was the guy who yelled "yeah, Carlos" after Carl Hagelin got the Broadway Hat for scoring the series-winning goal against the Penguins last year.
His impact on the ice, however, has been an enormous battle in the fancy stats/eye test war. We walked through this a little here in a story where I tried to compare Girardi to Keith Yandle and Johnny Boychuk to highlight how some players have a great defensive reputation without having the stats to back it up. That story went over okay, but there were some questions about the comparable and some other aspects to the data.
To rectify that, I'm taking a broad strokes look at the impact Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Anton Stralman all have on their teammates (for Stralman it's when he was with the Rangers) in terms of raw 5-on-5 possession (corsi) metrics. McDonagh and Stralman are the comparable aspects to this.
The below is With Or Without You Data; which very simply takes a player's corsi with a teammate and away from said teammate and looks at the difference. So for example: If Mats Zuccarello has a 50% corsi with Girardi and then a 60% corsi away from him, Girardi brings down Zuccarello's possession statistics by 10%. If Tanner Glass is a 20% corsi with Girardi and a 10% corsi away from him, Girardi brings up Glass' possession statistics by 10%. Simple, easy, cut and dry. Right?
Sort of. There is a disclaimer I need to lay down here: These statistics take everything into account. So this data will not review zone starts per matchup, game situation (up or down by 1 or more) or anything of the like. This is a broad strokes look at how Girardi, on average, impacts teammates in terms of possession. When looking at it from a scale this large I think it's fair to come up with a generally sound hypothesis based off the the below data. That's not to say it's perfect, but it's more than enough to come to the below assumption.
Let's first take a look at Girardi's data from this year (this does not include the game against San Jose, which actually helps Girardi because he was a -9 in shot differential).
The difference column shows the overall difference in possession between the two. Note that these findings are using a very small sample size (look at the difference with Kevin Klein and Dan Boyle!) so some of the figures are wonky.
But, over the life of the first six games of the year, Girardi, on average, brought down a teammate's possession 8.84% when paired with them. 68% of the time Girardi is paired with a teammate he brings his possession down. McDonagh -- who plays with Girardi the most -- ironically sees the biggest positive difference when being removed from his pairing.
Speaking of, let's take a look at what McDonagh has done through six games this year:
Also not that great. Again, though, these figures need to be taken with a grain of salt since Girardi and McDonagh were playing together 90% of the time with these teammates. Still, notice the enormous difference (again, with a super small sample size) between Girardi and McDonagh. McDonagh is only driving down a teammate's possession at a 3.08 clip (still not good) and is doing it 63% of the time (also not good).
But the sample size here is awful. Six games isn't even enough to make a trend, so let's take a look at the past three years for each defenseman.
First, let's run through Girardi's numbers the past three years. Same information as above just over the life of 2013-2016 (so you will see some old teammates on here):
There are some stats on here you can sort of throw out. Anyone who has played with Girardi less than 15 minutes is really not indicative of what's truly going on. But still, 84% of the time he's having a negative impact on teammates (to the tune of a 3.77% drop). Those are pretty staggering numbers, especially for a guy being paid to be a top-pairing, shut down defenseman.
Now let's take a look at how McDonagh fares over the same period:
Long term McDonagh's numbers right themselves for the rare moments he's been away from Girardi. That the difference is roughly 4% between Girardi and McDonagh (with how much they've played together) should speak volumes to McDonagh as a player.
Since McDonagh has been removed from Girardi (again, just two games) he looks like a different player.
Now to the other comparable, Anton Stralman. I used Stralman's 2013-2016 chart because the teammates would be mostly the same for the one year before he went to the lightning.
Something to keep in mind here: Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan's numbers probably don't compare because the Lightning are a good possession team and some of those stats are from their time as teammates in Tampa. You can throw those numbers out if yo uwant. Also, these data points are from one year, so the sample size within itself is about half that of Girardi and McDonagh's (since 2016 is just seven games old).
I wanted to avoid the lockout year since that was just 48 games and I wanted most of the teammates to match. Also, these are the stats Stralman was sporting when the team made the executive decision -- now that this is long over it seems like it was solely a Glen Sather decision -- to let Stralman walk.
Anyway ... HOW DID THE RANGERS LET STRALMAN WALK? Look at that! He had a positive impact on nearly every player. And the worst part is his contract is $1-million cheaper than Girardi's and two years shorter!
The point isn't to jump on Girardi so much as point out that his contract doesn't match up to what he's providing. There were some points made the last time we had this discussion that Girardi's numbers too a much steeper turn once he signed the extension but I think a lot more of that had to do with him working under John Tortorella's system and his decline speeding up as the team transitioned to Vigneault's system.
Hopefully this data -- as I've said before -- isn't taken as a be all end all but shows enough of a trend that Girardi is hurting the team more than he is helping. And with the contract that he has it's a problem the Rangers are going to have to deal with. Sooner rather than later.
Thoughts on this, guys?