Defenseman Dan Girardi will have the remainder of his contract bought out by the New York Rangers, general manager Jeff Gorton announced Wednesday.
Girardi, 33, has three years left on a six-year, $33 million contract (an average annual value of $5.5 million), according to CapFriendly.com. He can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the New York Rangers organization for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my childhood dream of playing in the National Hockey League," Girardi said in a statement. "I have spent one-third of my life as a New Yorker and as a New York Ranger."
He also had a no-movement clause, meaning the Rangers would have had to protect him in NHL Expansion Draft, which will take place June 21 as part of the 2017 NHL Awards presented by T-Mobile in Las Vegas (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN).
Video: Chris Johnston on Dan Girardi, Derek Stepan
"I poured my heart and soul into this team for the past 11 seasons and I enjoyed every minute of it," Girardi said.
The Vegas Golden Knights, who begin play next season, can negotiate a contract with Girardi starting Saturday. The Golden Knights are permitted to speak to any pending restricted or unrestricted free agent not on a protected list. Teams must submit their protected lists by 5 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Girardi will count against the Rangers salary cap for six more seasons, but at two-thirds the total remaining value of his contract: $2.61 million next season, $3.61 million in 2018-19 and 2019-20, and $1.11 million in 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23.
Girardi helped the Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, win the Presidents' Trophy with a Rangers-record 53 wins and 113 points in 2015, and advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs 10 times during his 11 seasons
The Rangers signed Girardi as an undrafted free agent on July 1, 2006. He has 230 points (46 goals, 184 assists), is plus-54 in 788 NHL games, and has 33 points (six goals, 27 assists) in 122 playoff games.
"I would like to thank Dan for everything he has given of himself to the Rangers over 11 seasons," Gorton said. "He has been one of the key contributors to our success over the past decade. We have the utmost respect for Dan and wish him all the best going forward."