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Former Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi has been hired by the Buffalo Sabres as a development coach, according to multiple reports.
Girardi, who retired after 13 NHL seasons with the Rangers and Lightning in September 2019, went undrafted in 2003 but went on to carve out a tremendous career for himself. He missed just five games while playing for the Rangers from 2007-2015, and was a key part of the defense that lost to the Kings in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. He was a shot-blocking machine during the Black-and-Blueshirts era, blocking 1,650 shots as a Ranger with 263 more in Tampa.
After the Rangers bought out the final three years of his contract in 2017, Girardi went on to sign a two-year deal with the Lightning. He played in 139 games with Tampa Bay over the next two seasons before retiring after the 2019 playoffs, in which the Lightning got swept in four games by the Blue Jackets.
He finished his career with 56 goals and 208 assists in 927 games, including eight goals and 28 assists in 143 playoff games.
Girardi, according to the Buffalo News, is close friends with Matt Ellis, a former Sabres player and fellow Welland, Ontario native who is now the team’s director of player development. The 36-year-old had been skating in the offseason at LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo, where Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams was once director of the Academy of Hockey.