Mark Giordano was one of the Flames very best players in the 2013-14 season, putting up a Norris caliber season despite getting little recognition for what he did this past season. Gio is unlikely to replicate what he did last season but there’s little doubt he will be one of the Flames’ best players in the 2014-15 season.
Shortly before the 2013-14 season began, he was named the new captain of the Flames. As soon as the C was stitched onto the left side of his jersey he became unstoppable. He began the year in dominating form, amassing 9 points in 8 games before a broken ankle took him out for six weeks. Returning from injury, he picked up right where he left off. In fact, he picked up 2 points in his first game and was named the 1st star of the game.
Shortly after returning from injury, Giordano formed a #1 pairing with TJ Brodie and the two created one of the best D pairings in the NHL. Right up there with Doughty & Muzzin, Keith & Seabrook, Chara & Whoever. Additionally, Giordano’s offensive production kept right on chuggin’.
Giordano finished the year with 47 points in 64 games (0.73 ppg), finishing 11th in defense scoring. If Gio had played all 82 games and kept up that scoring pace he would have finished top 3 in d-men scoring. As well, while I’m not generally a proponent of +/-, Gio played some of the toughest minutes in the league and came out +12 on the season. No other d-man on a non-playoff team with similar points was even near Gio in this regard. He also had one of the highest relative corsi % in the entire league and made everybody he played with significantly better. In summary, Gio had an amazing year in 2013-14.
Based on previous season totals, this past season appears to be an anomaly. Gio shattered nearly all his previous offensive records. There’s a chance that a high-beam switch turned on and Gio really found his game this year. However, it’s more likely that he had a really, really good year and is going to regress to some degree in the coming year.
Gio, throughout his career, has been a good bet to score at a 0.35ish ppg clip (approximately 30 points over 82 games). His production from last year (0.73 ppg) is more than double his normal scoring clip. Additionally, Giordano will be 31 years of age by the time the season is one month old. We all know that a player’s prime years are in his mid-20’s and production falls off a cliff once a player reaches his 30’s. The odds are not in Gio’s favor to replicate what he did last year.
On the other hand, Giordano will clearly be getting #1 ES minutes and PP minutes this upcoming season, just like last season. Previously in his career, Giordano was not the #1 d-man, typically a 3 or 4 d-man. Therefore, I see him scoring at a higher rate than his career average. He will likely settle in around the 40-45 point mark (0.5 ppg).
Additionally, Giordano has been a possession driver nearly every year since becoming an established NHLer. This year, I see him being used identically as he was last year (all the time, in every situation) and, barring a significant injury, he will most certainly be a possession monster once again.