Originally written on NY Rangers Blog  |  Last updated 11/4/14

NEW YORK - MARCH 15: Mike Richards #18 of the Philadelphia Flyers and Dan Girardi #5 of the New York Rangers fight on March 15, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.The Rangers defeated the Flyers 4-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Katie Strang at ESPN NY has an great piece on the unheralded Dan Girardi's path from undrafted free agent to cornerstone of the Rangers' defense including this nugget on why Rangers amateur scout Rich Brown was immediately drawn to the undrafted defenseman...

"Matched up against Corey Perry in the 2004 Ontario Hockey League playoffs, the undrafted 19-year-old defenseman helped lead the Guelph Storm past the future Hart Trophy winner and the London Knights in the Western Conference Finals. Traded to London the following year, Girardi contained Rimouski's Sidney Crosby better than anyone had ever done to help secure the Knights' first Memorial Cup title.

There was an impressive subtlety to Girardi's game that intrigued Brown. The six-foot outlet pass made under pressure in the defensive zone. The shot-blocking. The positioning. Girardi's ability to get in lanes. His penalty-killing.

Girardi was, in Brown's estimation, a player capable of doing all the little things necessary to play at the NHL level."

...guy shuts down Perry and Crosby and somehow isn't drafted? Hope Brown got a raise after finding Girardi.

...as if we weren't already impressed with Girardi going into the season, how he's been able to step-up his game in the absense of Staal has been something special to watch.

...h/t to readers Brett L. and Jeremy E.

Rick Carpiniello has more on Girardi at the Journal News.

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