Mark Giordano nearly won the Norris this season.
If not for a bizarre injury three-quarters through the season in New Jersey, which saw his bicep torn off the bone, Giordano would’ve probably been crowned the NHL’s top defender. Instead, he remains uncrowned despite two stellar partial seasons.
But just how good was Giordano this season? (Spoiler: pretty damn good.)
100 even-strength minutes together is the cut-off for the WOWY analysis.
So, yeah. Giordano is a damn boss.
He plays the toughest minutes on the team. He scores a ton, particularly when you remind yourself that he’s a defenseman. His 48 points were a career high, with 33 of them coming at even-strength. And literally every single player that spent time on the ice with Giordano saw the puck go towards the offensive end a whole lot more with him than without him. He carried everybody – the possession savvy (Backlund) and the struggling guys (Granlund) alike.
And look at how he’s been deployed and marvel at how he’s been absolutely buried in terms of zone starts and played against top dogs on every team, yet still has strong possession numbers.
The big question for the future is whether or not Giordano can keep this up as he ages. He’s going to be 32 when the regular season begins and, with his playing style and unfortunate history of injuries, it’s likely that his play will eventually deteriorate. And that unclear deterioration timeline likely coincides with a long-term contract extension.
For now, Mark Giordano is probably Calgary’s best player, and one of their oldest. Thankfully for Flames management and the team’s fans, there are a bunch of young players – including Giordano’s defense partner T.J. Brodie – nipping at his heels for the title of “best player.”