New Lightning D Dan Girardi: "I'm hungrier than I've ever been any year"

By Lindsay Liquori, Spectrum Sports
Last Updated: Monday, July 17, 2017, 5:07 PM EDT

It’s time for a new shade of blue for Dan Girardi after more than a decade in New York.

The casual fan might say he is a defender on the decline, especially if they’re only looking at the stats. 

He posted a career-low 15 points and average ice time (19:06) in 2016.

This veteran says he is out to prove, more than ever, he still has plenty left in the tank after being bought out by the Rangers.

"Hungrier than I’ve ever been in any year," said Girardi, who signed a two-year $6 million deal July 1st.  

"You know maybe you’ve been in one place so long you get on cruise control and that might not be good for your career. I think what happened to me is really going to jump start it."

But he’s already 33 years old.

"You know, obviously I am not getting any younger," said Girardi.  "I know that."

He has to be slowing down right?

"I can’t say what I wanna say," when asked what he would say to fans who think that.  

"I think I play a smart game on the ice. I’m not always the fastest.  But, I ‘m gonna block shots, I’m gonna eat hits, give hits. I’m gonna do everything I can to help the team win. That’s the type of person I am and I really don’t care what anyone else says around the rink." 

A lot of fans are going say, 'you were the enemy'.

"You know off the ice I’m a real nice guy," said Girardi. "Good family man.

That is just part of the reason former NY and juniors teammate Ryan Callahan felt he would fit in.

"I’m pretty much a team first type of guy," said Girardi.  

"I’m gonna block shots, hit guys, do whatever I can to keep the puck out of our net.  If I can contribute offensively, that’s great, but I think they mainly brought me in here for the defensive side of the game.  This is the most excited I’ve been for a year in a long time."

After spending his entire 11-year career playing at MSG, the Girardi family is all in on Tamp Bay, including his 7-year-old son. 

Landon's first request was a Steven Stamkos autograph.