New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team will buy out the contract of defenseman Dan Girardi.
"Dan's contributions to the New York Rangers organization have been immeasurable," Rangers President Glen Sather said. "He has been a role model through his relentless determination, giving everything he had to this organization both on and off the ice. He, Pam, Landon, and Shaye will always be a part of the Rangers family."
"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."
Girardi, 33, skated in 788 career games with the Rangers, registering 46 goals and 184 assists for 230 points, along with a plus-54 rating and 275 penalty minutes. He ranks ninth on the Rangers' all-time games played list, and he ranks fifth among Blueshirts defensemen in career games played, only trailing Harry Howell, Brian Leetch, Ron Greschner, and Jim Neilson. In addition, Girardi, who was signed by the Rangers as an undrafted free agent on July 1, 2006, appeared in more games with the Blueshirts than any other undrafted player in franchise history (among players who were eligible to be selected since the NHL Draft was implemented in 1963).
The Welland, Ontario, native helped the Rangers advance to the playoffs 10 times during his 11 seasons with the franchise (2006-07 - 2008-09; 2010-11 - 2016-17), including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final during the 2013-14 season. In addition, Girardi helped the Rangers finish in first place in their division twice during the regular season (Atlantic Division - 2011-12; Metropolitan Division - 2014-15) and finish with the best record in the NHL during the regular season in 2014-15, as the Blueshirts established single-season franchise records with 53 wins and 113 points. Girardi represented the Rangers at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game and finished sixth in voting for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman in 2011-12. He led the league in blocked shots in 2010-11 and 2012-13, and he established career-highs in blocked shots (236), assists (27), and points (31) during the 2010-11 season. In addition, Girardi served as one of the Rangers' alternate captains since the start of the 2011-12 season.
The 6-1, 212-pounder skated in 788 of 820 regular season games the Rangers played from the time he made his NHL debut on Jan. 27, 2007 through the end of the 2016-17 regular season (96.1%), including 651 of 656 regular season games the team played from Jan. 27, 2007 through the end of the 2014-15 regular season (99.2%). Girardi has skated in at least 80 games in seven seasons in his career, and he has played all 82 games of a season five times. Since the NHL implemented an 82-game schedule in 1995-96, Girardi and Brian Leetch are the only Rangers who have played all 82 games in five different seasons. Since he made his NHL debut, Girardi leads the NHL in blocked shots (1,691) and ranks fourth among NHL defensemen in games played (788).
Girardi skated in 122 career playoff games with the Rangers, registering six goals and 27 assists for 33 points, along with 36 penalty minutes. He is the franchise's all-time leader in playoff games played (among skaters) and only trails Henrik Lundqvist (128) in career playoff appearances by a Ranger. Girardi also holds the franchise record (among skaters) in consecutive playoff games, as he skated in 109 consecutive playoff games with the Rangers from his NHL playoff debut in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Atlanta in 2007 to Game 1 of the First Round against Pittsburgh in 2016. Girardi's 27 career playoff assists and 33 career playoff points rank fifth among Rangers defensemen in franchise history. Girardi registered three game-winning goals during the 2012 Playoffs, including one in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. Ottawa on April 26, 2012, and his three game-winning goals were tied for the fourth-most a Ranger has recorded in one playoff year in franchise history. Girardi led the NHL in blocked shots (67) and led NHL defensemen in hits (80) during the 2014 Playoffs while helping the Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
During his tenure with the Rangers, Girardi received several team and league awards and nominations. He was the Rangers' nominee twice for the Bill Masterton Trophy (2011-12 and 2016-17), which is awarded annually to the NHL player who "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey." Girardi received the John Halligan Good Guy Award in 2012-13 for his cooperation with the media, and he was named the Rangers Fan Club Rookie of the Year in 2006-07.