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Should the Anaheim Ducks trade for Dan Girardi?

With the Anaheim Ducks in the middle of an amazing season, one that has them on top of the NHL standings, the brain trust of general manager Bob Murray and his staff to determine what – if anything – they need to add or move in order to improve their chances at winning the Stanley Cup.

Trading at the deadline, or at any point in the season, is a sticky situation even for a team doing as well as the Ducks. Move the wrong piece, chemistry could be affected and the team could suffer. Stand still, and another team makes a move – you could find yourselves on the outside looking in.

So a team in the Ducks position have to be careful, because at the top of the standings – they have more to lose than anyone else in the league.

Looking at the current roster, and who is available (as well as what is going on the rumor mills) it is common belief that the Ducks are looking to add a top-four rugged defensive defenseman. The biggest name that has been linked to the Ducks is New York Rangers’ defender – Dan Girardi.

The Rangers are in a middle of another disappointing season, fighting for a playoff spot in the Metropolitan division. Girardi is a pending free agent and at 29-years old, he may not fit into the Rangers long term plans.

If the rumors are true, then the Rangers and Ducks have already started preliminary talks on a trade that would bring Girardi to Anaheim. The Fourth Period reports that the current asking price is ‘at least Sami Vatanen, and either Kyle Palmieri, Patrick Maroon and Rickard Rakell’.

Vatanen is enjoying a breakout season that has landed him on Finland’s Olympic Hockey roster, but still there has been nights where Sami has been the odd man out in the lineup.

Palmieri has shown there is still upside potential, as he scored the game-winning goal on back-to-back nights against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders. He currently has eight goals on the year, which puts him two behind his career high of ten goals – which he scored last season.

So should the Ducks make the move to add Girardi? Let’s get to know him a little better, and compare him to the defenseman the Ducks currently employ on their roster.

Basic Stats



Blocked Shots



Dan Girardi




12 (3 G, 9 A)

Cam Fowler




26 (4 G, 22 A)

Hampus Lindholm




13 (3 G, 10 A)

Francois Beauchemin




9 (1 G, 8 A)

Ben Lovejoy




9 (3 G, 9 A)


For all the talk of Girardi being a true-blue stay at home defenseman, he still averages more than a minute of ice-time a game on the power play. He is also right-handed, so losing Vatanen wouldn’t leave the Ducks with just one righty (Lovejoy).

While he does provide some offensive upside, his bread and butter will always be in his own zone – namely his physicality in that area. His 107 hits would not only be tops among the blue liners for the Ducks, but for the entire team as well.

The Ducks were once one of the top teams in blocking shots, but now they have slipped just outside the top-ten coming in at eleven. Girardi currently has 70-blocked shots on the season, so he would be a welcome addition – especially if Viktor Fasth is out for an even longer period to a young goalie like Frederik Andersen.

I, for one, am still a little new to the advanced statistics when it comes to hockey and determining value to a player. But the stats usually go along with common perception, albeit the occasional surprise. A look at some advanced statistics among the group during five-on-five play.


Goals For/20

Goals Against/20

Save %

Dan Girardi




Cam Fowler




Hampus Lindholm




Francois Beauchemin




Ben Lovejoy





The Goals For/20 and Goals Against/20 are each time a player’s team scores, and gets scored on per 20-minutes. It’s not a direct correlation of a player’s defensive play, but if a player has a high GA/20 – he is obviously on the ice a lot when his team is scored upon.

Looking at the chart here you can see why the Ducks have been so good this season; it is rare that any of the Ducks’ top-four are out there for a goal. Girardi’s GA/20 is higher than any other on the Ducks’ top-four but remember, he plays for a team that is fighting for a playoff spot and among the league’s worst at five-on-five play.

The Goals For/20 isn’t a true indicator of a player’s offensive prowess, as Bryan Allen’s (not listed here) number is higher than Fowler’s – we all know who is better at creating offense – but again, if it happens so many times, a theme could develop.

Looking at the numbers above, they didn’t sway me one way or another as to whether or not the trade would be worth it. So I dug a little deeper into the time of period the Ducks would really get their money-worth – the penalty kill,




Dan Girardi



Cam Fowler



Francois Beauchemin



Ben Lovejoy



Bryan Allen




As oppose to doing per-20 minutes like I did five-on-five, I based it on two minutes – the length of a power play. Basically Girardi is on the ice for a power play goal every five power play kill attempts. He also eats up a lot of ice-time, playing almost three minutes shorthanded a game.

Girardi would easily become one of the Ducks’ best penalty killers and his presence would boost the struggling penalty kill that ranks 18th currently.

Should The Ducks Make The Move?

All this is nice, yes, but it doesn’t really answer the main question – if the Ducks should make the move to acquire Girardi.

If the trade stands how it does now, I think the Ducks should jump at the opportunity. Larry Brooks of the NY Post believes that Girardi is as good as a rental player to come along since Ilya Kovalchuk in 2010 and Marian Hossa in 2008.

Looking back at those trades, they have worked out more for the team acquiring the rental player as oppose to the team getting the big ‘haul’. Kovalchuk helped the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup final a few years later – and the biggest piece that went to the Thrashers (now Winnipeg Jets), a first round pick was used to get Dustin Byfuglien via trade. The Jets are currently trying to trade him due to his never improving defense.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are still reaping the benefits of the Hossa trade – through the ‘throw-in’ of the trade, Pascal Dupuis who has formed amazing chemistry with Sidney Crosby to form one of the best lines in hockey.

So will it cost something the Ducks something important? Certainly, most Ducks fans aren’t in favor of it as it is now. The Ducks’ top-four have demonstrated amazing chemistry thus far. It will be hard to justify splitting them up, and to give up what they would have to give up – it would be a waste to stick Girardi on the third pairing.

Lovejoy would likely be the player to get bumped to the third pairing, and while he has had a great season playing top minutes – his value might go up even more in a third pairing role.

But the ultimate goal of any franchise is to win the Stanley Cup, even if it cost some fan favorites on the way. The Ducks seem in better position now than they were during any of their Stanley Cup runs.

The Ducks’ are not a flashy team, so making a big splash at the deadline isn’t their style – as most available players wouldn’t fit into their style of play. Girardi fits that mold. He plays that quiet, physical style that I know Ducks’ fans would love. As far as signing Girardi beyond this year? A Stanley Cup has a funny way of making guys want to stay.

Anthony Murphy is the Editor of Pucks of a Feather. You can reach him by email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @AMurphyTFC.

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