The Anaheim Ducks have the NHL’s best record as regular-season play resumes following the Olympic break, but to avoid another disappointing first-round playoff exit, general manager Bob Murray would be wise to acquire a top-four defenseman before the March 5 trade deadline.
According to a report from The Fourth Period magazine, Anaheim has inquired about the top defenseman rumored to be available.
“The Ducks have shown serious interest in New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi, multiple sources have told TFP, and trade talks between the two clubs are expected to pick up steam,” the magazine wrote Monday. “Girardi, 29, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 1 and contract negotiations between his agents and the Rangers have reportedly hit a stalemate.”
The Ducks aren’t likely to part with valuable assets for a rental like Girardi, but they might consider it if the veteran defenseman is willing to re-sign with the team. Anaheim will have about $21 million cap space this summer as multiple veteran forwards, including Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, will likely leave the team and/or retire. Girardi is reportedly seeking a six-year deal worth over $5 million per season.
Ducks general manager Bob Murray has his own first-round pick in the 2014 NHL draft to offer in trades and one from the Ottawa Senators that was acquired in the Bobby Ryan deal over the summer. As of Wednesday, the Senators pick would be in the top 15. Murray also has a stable of talented prospects to offer, including Northeastern center Kevin Roy, Seattle Thunderbirds defenseman Shea Theodore and 2011 first-round pick Rickard Rakell.
Girardi’s ability to log 20-plus minutes against elite forwards, excel on the penalty kill and block shots would upgrade a Ducks blue line that lacks the physicality required for playoff success. He’s also a right-handed shot, which the Ducks need at the point.
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