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Vegas expansion and expansion draft changes plans for Dan Girardi

Bobby Bevilacqua

dan girardi skating 12-6

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

On Wednesday, the NHL Executive Committee revealed that they came up with a positive recommendation for a one team expansion in the 2017-18 season, which would be awarded to Las Vegas.

Bill Foley, the man at the forefront of the NHL expansion to Vegas, has already gotten a lease in the new T Mobile Arena as well as getting deposits on 14,000 season tickets. The next step is for Foley to sign the expansion contract and return it to the league along with the $500 million fee.

An expansion team also means an expansion draft, which would probably occur before the start of the Vegas team’s inaugural season. Initially, it was believed that teams would not have to protect players with a NTC or a NMC, but that may have changed.

According to an update from Larry Brooks, teams would only be required to protect players with a NMC that extend through the 2017-18 season and beyond. Players with just a no trade clause would not be automatically protected.

A lot of the talk this offseason surrounding the Rangers was about whether or not Jeff Gorton would bite the bullet and buy out Dan Girardi, or whether or not the team would attempt to trade him for just about anything at this point.

However, Girardi’s full NMC expires after this season and turns into a limited NTC. He would be available to be selected in the expansion draft by the time that rolls around.

Rather than trying and dump his contract and almost definitely retain some salary, Gorton may wind up just keeping Girardi for this season, (hopefully) demoting him to the third pairing, and then put him up for availability in the expansion draft the following offseason.

This does come with some risk though. Girardi dealt with a lot of injuries this season for the first time in his career, including more knee problems and a concussion. If he deals with the same things this season, that could make him a less attractive option to other teams, and his trade value would fall lower than it is right now. The same thing could happen if he has a bad season.

Gorton has to weigh his options before the draft this year rolls around, because that’s when many likely trades would happen. At this rate, it might be best to wait another year and see if Girardi would be selected in an expansion draft. Some teams value the stay-at-home defenseman, and Girardi is seen as a good defenseman by some players and people. Claude Giroux said that Dan Girardi was the most underrated player in the NHL.

At this point, it may be worth it to hold onto Girardi for another season. His trade value is very low right now, and if he manages to stay healthy and play decent next season, that could make teams more likely to want him anchoring their blue line. But that’s a big what-if, and there’s a chance that he continues to regress and the Rangers would be stuck with him until his contract expires.

This is one of the many tough decisions that Gorton will have to make this offseason, one that could shape the team’s look for years to come.

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Posted on June 10, 2016, in In the Crease and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Keep him for another year. Trade Marc Staal now.

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  2. I would have to agree Dave. It sounds too costly to buy him out and who knows maybe he’ll have a better year this season. He was banged up pretty good all year. But if they can trade Staal then do it now before that’s too late also

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  3. buying him out would be an asinine move! why would you take a cap hit on him until the 23-24 season when you in all likely hood will probably be able to trade him at the trade deadline and if not then the off season for sure!

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