The Golden Knights should take a look at Dan Girardi

If Vegas wants to sign a veteran defenseman, this could be their guy.

The New York Rangers are buying out the final three years of veteran defenseman Dan Girardi. After 11 years in the Big Apple, the 33-year-old blueliner is now in search of a new home. Girardi will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Where could the former All-Star end up?

Maybe with the Vegas Golden Knights, who have zero defensemen under contract at the moment.

Girardi has played in 788 games, scoring 46 goals with 184 helpers in his NHL career. Unfortunately, he is coming off a down year in New York. He scored just four goals and 15 points in 63 games. Granted, Girardi hasn’t ever been known as an offensive stalwart. He’s at his best when in the defensive zone. He never shies away from taking shots to the body and has developed a reputation as a committed leader both on and off the ice, which the Golden Knights could certainly use.

Girardi hasn’t necessarily been bad for the Rangers, but his contract certainly was. His no-move clause, along with his $5.5 million annual cap hit through the 2019-20 season, was lightyears beyond his current value. By buying out Girardi, the Rangers are not only saving money, but allow themselves to protect one of their younger defensemen from the Golden Knights in the expansion draft.

The expansion draft is less than a week away and there are plenty of solid defensemen who are going to be exposed by their current teams. But it’s unlikely the Golden Knights will be able to add a blueliner with the experience and leadership qualities of Girardi. The long-time Ranger is far past his prime, but he would make a terrific captain on a largely youthful Knights team in its inaugural season.

Should the Golden Knights sign Dan Girardi?