Mark Giordano 2013 WOWY


Mark Giordano

pic courtesy Terry Dobbins

Calgary’s presumptive next Captain had a rough year by the eye test – do the numbers match the evaluation?

The Basics

First, here are Giordano’s basic possession stats and their concurrent ranks amongst regular skaters on the Flames:

Corsi: -5.96/60 (14/19)

Relative Corsi: -1.6 (14/19)

Zone Start: 41.0% (2nd toughest)

Primer (skip if you are familiar with Corsi analysis)

Corsi is the differential between shots at the net for and against while a player is on the ice (at even strength). It is a proxy measure for offensive zone puck possession and indicative of a players overall performance/effect on the ice. Selke winners and dominating players tend to rate highly in Corsi, including Datsyuk, Crosby, Kesler, Karlsson, Lidstrom, Bergeron, Toews, etc. Corsi also consistently correlates with scoring chance differential, which we’ve discovered from counting chances for years.

The zone start stat is a ratio of offensive zone to defensive zone face-offs at even strength for the player in question. A low ratio indicates more starts in the defensive zone and therefore a more difficult assignment. 

End primer.

The poor showing on the Corsi side of things is heavily influenced by the low ZS%. That said, playing with sinkholes such as Tanguay and Iginla will also effect that… or will it?

Giordano WOWY

With or Without you is exactly what it sounds like – a look at how each players results change with or without another given player on the ice. In this case, we’ll investigate Brodie’s effects on his main line mates this season. Numbers are Corsi% (stats via

Player With G Without G % diff
Bouwmeester 47.1 49.4 -2.3
Wideman 48.3 48.0 0.3
Stajan 50.1 46.5 3.6
Stempniak 50.7 49.5 1.2
Tanguay 45.4 48.1 -2.7
Glencross 48.1 50.3 -2.2
Cammalleri 48.8 47.5 1.3
Iginla 46.4 49.9 -3.5

Player G With G Without % diff
Bouwmeester 47.1 47.8 0.7
Wideman 48.3 46.9 -1.4
Stajan 50.1 46.2 -3.9
Stempniak 50.7 45.9 -3.8
Tanguay 45.4 48.3 2.9
Glencross 48.1 47.2 -0.9
Cammalleri 48.8 47.0 -1.8
Iginla 46.4 47.8 1.4

So, what to take from this? In my interpretation, knowing what I know about how players were deployed against top competition, it seems to me that Giordano made players marginally better against 2nd and 3rd tier comp but brought everyone down by a significant margin when playing top tier comp. The telling player here is Iginla: we all know he’s not exactly the best tough-minutes option, but in playing top-3 competition with Giordano, Gio made his Corsi rating 3.5% worse than it was without Gio. Another worrying sign? Gio creates 1 more minute of PK time for every 60 minutes of even strength time than he does PP time, which doesn’t sound huge – but it’s the worst on the team (aside from Derek Smith, but that’s not a high bar) by a considerable margin.

The chart is composed of Giordano’s top-8 line mates.


Of course, the analysis probably isn’t that simple overall; the trade deadline had a lot to do with it, as did his poor start. But I can’t shake the feeling that Giordano was a two-season wonder, and now that he’ll be used as the #1 defenseman… Well, let’s just say that I wouldn’t be surprised if even more vitriol is directed towards him next year.

Other WOWYs


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  • Another thing which would be worth investigating is if circumstances swung things for Gio when he was on with certain guys. The coaching staff buried him this year, so the difference for Jarome with/without Gio might be a difference in circumstances: ie, with Gio on the ice, he was facing top comp or starting more often in the defensive zone. With others, he was seeing lesser lights or starting in the o-zone.

  • mattyc

    couple preguntas:

    – WOWY doesn’t account for the change in roles (whether QualComp or ZS%), has that been looked at? If you have mixed results (like Brodie and Giordano) it’s really hard to interpret anything quantitatively because I don’t know if it’s the player(s) or the role.

    – This is probably opening a big ‘ol debate, but how important (quantitatively) is a zone start?

  • beloch

    I just took a look at Giordano’s stats since returning from the KHL.

    In his first three seasons back he faced below average competition and had pretty good possession stats. In 2011-2012 he faced *much* tougher competition and “had a bad season”, as people have put it. He faced similar competition this year and had a similarly “bad” season.

    Let’s face it, Giordano hasn’t had a bad couple of seasons. He probably just isn’t a top pairing D. Possibly not even top 4. Yeah, he plays with heart, looks good in bank ads and interviews well, but he has yet to prove he can drive play against top competition, plus he’s probably peaked.

    Going forward, Feaster should probably try to put together a top-4 that doesn’t include Giordano. Giordano might be worth trading too. Yeah, sacrilege, I know.

  • Graham

    ‘But I can’t shake the feeling that Giordano was a two-season wonder’

    So, rather than making him Captain, should we trade him while he still has some value?

  • McRib

    Imagine how solid the Flames defense core would be if we added a premier guy like a Keith Yandle (I know Pipedream) but a Yandle, Brodie, Wideman, Giordano is better than most Top 4s in the playoffs. Apparently Phoenix is willing to let him go for a big price tag mind you.

    • Giordano is certainly a top-4 d-man. He’s just not going to dominate anyone playing the toughest minutes. Few do.

      People got spoiled with Gio beating up lesser lights for his first couple of seasons in Calgary. That wasn’t going to continue as he moved up the rotation. That said, he’s a perfectly decent top-4 option.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    To me, Giordano was not skating well this year. Whether it be speed or agility he wasn’t his normal self. It wasn’t a dramatic change but he seemed to have to battle a lot because he wasn’t there a beat quicker as in previous years.

    I think his injury from last year was pretty severe and fans don’t realize that just because a player is back in the lineup (even after missing substantial time) they aren’t the same. Hopefully if this is the case, he recovers fully next year.

    • Robear

      I agree. He was a step behind in all his dealings, which effects his first pass, ability to block shots and ability to win a board battles.
      I thought he looked tentative last year after he returned from that hamstring injury and his play this year seemed to take a definitive step back. I would have thought that the time off during the lock-out would have made his return easier though.
      We’ll find out next year if he’s topped out or washed up. Hopefully he doesn’t bury Brodie in the process.

  • RKD

    Gio definitely struggled this season but it was the first time he was playing top 2 minutes. He had to do what Jay-Bo and Butler did last season and stop the other team’s top forwards night in, night out. He’s better adjusted on a second pairing. I wonder if that leg injury has permanently affected how he plays.

    Let’s see how he does in the upcoming season. He’s still a top 4 d-man in my eyes and I wouldn’t have a problem with him or Glencross being named captain.

    If you trade Gio then you better get back a first round pick or a #1 center.

  • Rockmorton65

    gio is what he is, a caeer second pairing d man with some upside but nothing outstanding. great story of perservance and character. good qualities in a leader, honest hardworking, team first guy.

  • Gio is a 3-4 guy. He’s paid as a 3-4 guy, is his best when minutes are limited to 18-20 per game. Him & Wideman are solid 3-4 def option for Flames going to next year. What are our D options that are UFA’s coming up? Any D RFA’s to try & target? We may have to go into next year with 3 3-4dmen & Brodie & hope like hell Cundari steps up his game like Brodie did. Would love to see Tspoon challenge for the 5-6 spots.

  • Scary Gary

    I’ve said this before but I think Gio will bounce back next year. He like most of the veteran flames did not have the conditioning to play NHL hockey to start the season. I’m not in agreement with players going overseas and taking jobs away from other but those individuals that did definitely had an advantage over those that didn’t. The few flames (with the exception of Cervenka) that did play overseas or competitive hockey (AHL) had a relatively good season: Brodie, Backlund, Hudler.

  • Gio is a guy I wouldn’t trade, he got better as the year went on and he’s a leader.

    He is a #3 dman though and he was used as a #2 and he struggled.

    The problem with Gio is we don’t have the right dman to complement him.

    We need a big, strong, right-handed, top-pairing dman to play with Brodie.

    Gio and Wideman are not a bad 2nd pairing, we just need a top pairing to take the pressure off…