PHILADELPHIA -- Despite the Rangers’ 4-2 loss to the Flyers on Saturday afternoon, defenseman Dan Girardi had good reason to look relieved while answering questions in his stall after the game.
Girardi inked a six-year, $33 million contract extension with the Rangers on Friday afternoon, ending weeks of speculation that the 29-year-old defenseman might be traded.
New York Rangers
Prior to signing his new deal on Friday, which will keep him in New York through 2020, Girardi was one of the most attractive potential rental players on the market along with teammate, good friend and team captain Ryan Callahan.
“I’m just really excited about the deal and to be a New York Ranger for my career,” said Girardi, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2006.
Instead of moving the top-pair veteran, which could’ve fetched an attractive return from a playoff team seeking to bolster its blue line, general manager Glen Sather locked him up long-term to a deal that, as ESPNNewYork.com reported on Friday, includes a full no-move clause in the first three years and a limited no-trade clause in the final three years.
The deal comes with an annual average value of $5.5 million, in line with what Girardi was reportedly seeking from the beginning of negotiations.
“I wish we could have gotten it done earlier, but that’s part of it,” Girardi said. “I’m just glad to be done and have it over with and work on the other guy now.”
The other guy, of course, is Callahan, whose progress toward a contract extension hasn’t been nearly as promising.
Unlike the Girardi situation, in which the two sides spoke consistently in the weeks leading up to the deal, Callahan’s camp and the club have gone through stretches without any communication.
New York Rangers
Following the Olympic break, during which the two sides did not talk, talks have resumed, though they have yet to yield any significant progress.
Callahan’s agent, Steve Bartlett, told ESPNNewYork.com via email on Friday that the two sides are talking but that there is “nothing much to report besides that.”
Though multiple sources deny that Girardi’s deal will impact the Callahan situation, it’s hard to imagine his longtime teammate’s new deal won’t affect the 28-year-old winger’s thinking at all.
The two have been playing together since their junior hockey days in Guelph, Ontario, and their families are close.
Still, Girardi expressed doubt that one situation would have direct implications on the other, though he sounded hopeful a new deal gets done.
“You want to keep the captain of your team. I don’t think it affects him too much,” he said. “[I’m] letting him deal with it, work itself out, and hopefully in the next three or four days, we’ll see what happens.”
Before the game, coach Alain Vigneault was optimistic that Callahan could be next in forging a new pact.
Vigneault told reporters he was “confident” the two sides could come to an agreement prior to the NHL’s trade deadline on Wednesday.