You may have heard this before: another 30-plus-year-old defenseman up for free agency this summer who may have played his last games in a royal blue sweater.
But this time it isn’t Anton Strålman we’re talking about, it’s Dan Girardi.
Thirteen years in this league certainly has some perks. It’s one of the reasons why many fans cringed when the Lightning announced Girardi would be out “indefinitely” in the last part of the regular season, right when Tampa Bay appeared to be maintaining its winning ways. Girardi’s injury coincided with Strålman getting sidelined.
Girardi earned his top spot on the blueline in a defensemen pairing with Victor Hedman. But he tops the roster as the oldest,having turned 35 in April. He ranks as the second longest-tenured player on the team (Braydon Coburn edges him out with 15 seasons). Many question whether it’s the end of the line for him.
The month-long lower-body injury that kept Girardi out of the lineup led to his shortest season since 2012-13, logging only 62 games this year. And despite the shortcoming in appearances, the veteran defenseman notched four goals and 12 assists.