by PuckStopsHere on 07/14/16 at 08:11 PM ET
A few days ago I posted the worst 20 players by raw Corsi in the 2015/16 NHL season. Last in the league was Dan Girardi of the New York Rangers. He posted a -389 Corsi. This shows puck possession problems while Girardi is on the ice. Opposing teams took 389 more attempted shots than the Rangers did in 5 on 5 situations with Girardi on the ice.
Girardi is a 32 year old defenceman who had played with the Ramgers since 2006. He posted 17 points in his 74 games played. This is his worst offensive total in his NHL career when he spent a full non-lockout season spent in the league. That is a sign Girardi is in decline. Girardi is one of those players who has a reputation as a hard working team player who is selfless and willing to block a shot and put his body on the line. The problem is players like this tend to be tough to take out of the line-up even when they are hurting the team. Usually this is a reasonable description of the players that I chose as the worst player in the league in any given season. The problem is Girardi is not playing well for the Rangers at he seems to be getting worse each season.
The Rangers have relied upon Girardi. He was third in ice time per game last year behind Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein. Because of his higher ice time he does better when ranked using Corsi as a rate stat. However he remains poor in those circumstances - but others rank worse.
There was some suggestion that Girardi might have been a buyout candidate this summer but that did not happen. The Rangers need to find a defenceman to take Girardi's ice time. Perhaps he might keep some value in a more sheltered lesser role, but he has struggled as a top four defenceman. The problem is there doesn't seem to be an obvious candidate to take his spot. Keith Yandle and Dan Boyle have left the Rangers reducing their depth. It is very hard to see who could take Girardi's ice time. This is a reason to doubt that the New York Rangers will remain a playoff calibre team.
Dan Girardi is playing a role he can no longer handle. His league worst Corsi shows he has struggled in the role. He doesn't have strong mitigating circumstances to alleviate this. He is not playing in a particularly high number of defensive zone starts or against top level competition. He is a "minutes eater" for the Rangers. That is problem for the team. They have a struggling player who played an important role for them last year and it isn't obvious how he can be replaced.
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