There are very few players who are more consistent than Dan Girardi. Since debuting in 2007 he has only missed three games and has been the anchor for the New York Rangers defense. This season was no different for the 29-year-old.
Girardi is the Rangers top defenseman always. He is the perfect rough and rugged defenseman that every team needs. He might not be the flashiest player on the ice, but he always gets the job done. With Marc Staal being injured for most of the past two seasons, Girardi has had an increased leadership role on and off the ice. He is the oldest man on a young defensive core that has been growing together for the last two seasons. He has also been an alternate captain while Staal has been out of the lineup. Girardi has helped stud defenseman Ryan McDonagh to learn how to play a defense-first style.
Girardi isn’t known for his offense, but his shot on the point is deadly. He very rarely misses the net and has shown that he can be good with his big shot on the power play. He had two goals and 12 assists for 14 points in the regular season. He played in all games except for two. In the first round of the playoffs he once again shutdown Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin had only one goal in the seven-game series. In the second round, Girardi struggled against the Boston Bruins in game 2. He had a rare off game and was a minus-four for the day. He bounced back like he always did and played great the rest of the series. He scored the Rangers final goal of the season on the power play.
With Alain Vigneault taking over as head coach you can expect that Girardi will stay the same. Every team needs their stay-at-home defenseman who will shutdown the other teams’ top players. You might see Girardi more on the power play because of his heavy shot. He will continue to bring his shot blocking and physical play to a team that will be more offensive-oriented.
Girardi is apart of the core that has turned the Rangers into contenders once again. Expect him to have another steady year in 2013-14.