The team announced Wednesday they are buying out the final three years of the longtime defenseman’s contract, which had an annual salary cap hit of $5.5 million. As a result, the Rangers will have dead money counted toward the cap over the next six seasons, ranging from $1.11 million to $3.61 million.
“Dan’s contributions to the New York Rangers organization have been immeasurable,” team president Glen Sather said in a statement. “He has been a role model through his relentless determination, giving everything he had to this organization both on and off the ice.”
Girardi becomes an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any team beginning July 1.
He has played all 11 seasons of his career for the Blueshirts, reaching the postseason 10 of those years. An All-Star in 2012, he scored 46 goals and 184 assists during his Rangers career.
Girardi, 33, however, has battled injuries in recent years, including cracked ribs this past season. The alternate captain had four goals and 11 assists in 2016-17.
“I poured my heart and soul into this team for the past 11 seasons and I enjoyed every minute of it,” Girardi said in a statement. “I want to acknowledge that the Rangers are a first class organization who have always treated our players in a first class fashion. My family and I are most grateful for the way we have been treated during our stay in New York.”
General manager Jeff Gorton said of Girardi: “He has been one of the key contributors to our success over the past decade. We have the utmost respect for Dan and wish him all the best going forward.”
In another move Wednesday, the Rangers agreed to terms with forward Matt Puempel on a one-year extension. Getting a deal done with the 24-year-old helps New York satisfy the minimum expansion draft requirement of exposing at least two forwards under contract for 2017-18.
The Rangers claimed the Puempel off waivers from Ottawa in November. He had six goals and three assists in 40 games last season and has 10 goals and five assists in 79 career NHL games.
New York also named former player Jed Ortmeyer as director of player development, Steve Eminger as a professional scout and Ben Prentiss as strength and conditioning consultant.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)