Rangers lock up Girardi with reasonable contract extension

The Rangers re-signed defenseman Dan Girardi Friday to a six-year contract extension that’s fair to both sides.

The New York Rangers locked up a longtime team cornerstone Friday and removed one of the few upper-tier defenseman off the trade market when they re-signed Dan Girardi to a six-year, $33-million contract extension.

The 29-year-old Girardi has spent his entire eight-year NHL career with the Rangers, for whom he’s served effectively as one of the league’s top shutdown blueliners. Girardi led the NHL in blocks last season with 125 in 46 games and currently sits 14th overall in that category with 121 in 60 games. The Welland, Ont., native is second on the Blueshirts with an on-ice average of 22:40 per game and is an ironman, having missed just four games since 2006-07.

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His new deal, which carries a $5.5 million average annual value, was what Girardi would’ve received (and maybe more) had he made it to a weak open market for d-men this summer. And if the Rangers are going to make a playoff push – and perhaps acquire Martin St. Louis from Tampa Bay – it didn’t make sense to trade him by the March 5 deadline, even though they could have received quite a bit in return for him. Rangers GM Glen Sather can be frivolous with his spending, but not this time. Girardi isn’t entering his prime, but he’s also not breaking the bank as the salary cap rises.