The Lightning just signed defenseman and NHL veteran Dan Girardi to play for them. The contract is $6 million for two years.
Prior to that, he played 63 games for the New York Rangers, an average of 20 minutes per game. He scored four goals and gets credit for 11 assists. This level of performance did not match the goals of his contract with the Rangers, so they bought him out.
The Lightning still need depth in their blue line. They still have only five NHL defensemen. Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman will continue to play the biggest roles for the Lightning. Ryan Callahan and Anton Stralman are former Rangers teammates of his.
Girardi’s seven-year-old son Landon was happy at the change because he wanted Steven Stamkos’s autograph. Fortunately, Stamkos texted Girardi a big welcome to the team, and told Girardi to let him know if Stamkos could do anything for him. He probably was not expecting a request for his autograph.
Giradi is 6 feet, 1 inches tall and weighs 212 pounds. At the age of 33, he has played in 788 regular season games and 122 playoff games.
The Tampa Bay Lightning also signed Chris Kunitz as forward. Kunitz has earned four Stanley Cup rings. He won two playing with Pittsburgh in the past two years.
The Lightning general manager Steve Izerman said that signing Kunitz and Girardi would make their defense stronger than it was last season. It would bring an element of abrasiveness. That would make them harder to play against.
Girardi said he is a team-first type of guy. He doesn’t look for fights, but he sticks up for his teammates. He plays hard and finishes checks. He says he does not like playing against Kunitz. This implies he will enjoy playing on the same team on Kunitz. Kunitz is a tough player who goes straight up against the opponents and scores goals.