2014-15 By The Numbers: #5 Mark Giordano

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.

Player Together Apart Diff.
Brodie 48.9% 39.1% +9.8%
Monahan 46.5% 45.1% +1.4%
Glencross 47.1% 45.0% +2.1%
Jones 48.5% 41.5% +7.0%
Hudler 49.0% 45.5% +3.5%
Gaudreau 50.7% 45.2% +5.5%
Bouma 48.1% 38.9% +9.2%
Byron 48.9% 45.6% +3.3%
Jooris 50.3% 46.1% +4.2%
Colborne 43.7% 42.2% +1.5%
Backlund 53.9% 43.1% +10.8%
Raymond 48.2% 42.1% +6.1%
Granlund 46.2% 39.8% +6.4%
Stajan 48.9% 43.3% +5.6%

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.

defense

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.”

2014-15 BY THE NUMBERS

  • Amazing results across the board.

    Watching him and Brodie play live is a rare treat. You can see them shift and conduct play at even strength, controlling the tempo and flow of traffic.

    I don’t know how long Gio can keep this up, but he’s an insanely good player.

    • supra steve

      You sure have to wonder how much better the Flames would have faired against Anaheim & even Vancouver for that matter if Gio was healthy. I do honestly believe Russell & Wideman rose to heights that may be difficult to replicate when Gio went down. Russell may do it next year, his next contract depends on it. Wideman, I don’t know man, my heart loves what he brought this Flames team this year but my right brain hemisphere is saying trade him & one of of forward prospects for another 1st rounder this year.

  • In another thread the discussion was what should Gio be paid and I did not comment then but here is my take on Gio and some of the other threads today. One has to determine how long one thinks Gio will be at the top of his game; the last two seasons we have seen significant improvement to the point of him being considered one of the top defenders in the league. I don’t see any evidence that he is about to immediately regress so I personally think he will have another 2 or 3 years at or near this level. If one looks at the top 10 paid defenders in the league we have to discuss where he fits in and then what he means to this club. The top 10 as I could figure out are Suban $9, Weber $7.9, Suter$7.5, Letang$7.5, Doughty$7. Dion$7, Chara $6.9, Piertanhalo $6.5, Karlson $6.5, Green $6 all in milions, average age 29. Personally I would take Gio’s current play and rank him ahead of more than half of these guys just on play and rank him at least as high for importance to the team as any of them. Gio should get a 4 year deal somewhere near the following: $8,$8,$6,$5 with a no trade clause year one and two and limited no move clause year 3 and nothing in year 4. If he is still performing at the high end of defenders resign him for what he is worth at the time.

    No knock on Russell and Wides but the Flames need to upgrade their back end. These two guys would make an outstanding third pairing. Looking at the UFA’s here are the guys we need to be in the discussion with: Mike Green 29 R 6’1″ 205, Meszaros 29 L 6’2 220, Cody Franson 27 R 6’5″ 210, Jeff Petry 27R 6’3″ 200, and Adam McQuaid 28 R 6’5″ 210.

    To judge BT so far is fools gold as he has not done much; which might be a good thing. Judging him on the draft is silly as most drafts can’t be really assessed for 3-5 years. Yes a top 5 pick helps(most teams don’t this wrong), Bennett was a sure thing when he fell to 4th. The others will take time to judge. This year will be much harder at 15, we should not expect to see whoever this is for 2-3 years at the earliest.

    • supra steve

      “Gio should get a 4 year deal somewhere near the following: $8,$8,$6,$5 with a no trade clause year one and two and limited no move clause year 3 and nothing in year 4.”

      If this is the best the Flames have to offer (medium term AND low AAV vs. his peers), then Gio should play out his current contract and hit the market next summer as one of the most sought after UFA of 2016. I hope the Flames have a better understanding of the true value of their captain.

  • MonsterPod

    Upgrading the top 4 D is the toughest thing and the most important.

    Washington picked up Orpik and Niskanen in FA and were much improved.

    The Islanders traded picks for Leddy and Boychuk and that paid immediate dividends.

    And let’s not forget, all these guys are now Expensive.

    But which of the current UFAs is really going to shove Russell or Wideman down the depth chart? Cody Franson? Meh…

    Also, it’s clear we need size in our top 4. So no Mike Green or his like. We already have the Widedog.

    We need to scoop a guy in a special situation, like Phaneuf if Phaneuf weren’t Phaneuf.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    An importnant quality of an elite player is the ability to make other players better.

    I don’t know if I’m ready to call Giordano elite yet, but he clearly elevates the play of his teammates.

  • RKD

    Giordano is an elite d-man, personally I think he’s better than Doughty, Weber, Keith, Karlsson and Subban. Compared the above d-men, Gio is a leader. Where some guys are more shutdown d-men and other guys are more offensive d-men, he can do both well and excel at both well. Usually a guy is really good in one area and not so good in the other. Gio has done so much more off the ice that cannot be measured. If it weren’t for injuries, he would have a Norris trophy or two. The tough part is predicting when there will be a drop off. I hope he can keep playing at this high level for a few more years.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Word is Ottawa has grown tired of Jared Cowan, he’s physical And still pretty young, just battled a few injuries… Would he be a good bottom end replacement? Should BT pursue, prop for yes, trash for no…

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    I like the McQuaid option as he won’t cost as much, then Petry, then Franson as we need more defensive-minded D-men (and I mean get just one of them). Also don’t mind Bruins Bartkowski! Also trade Klimchuck and a low 2nd rounder for Lucic to help RW scoring and size as he has an epiphanic rise when traded here.

  • First I want to acknowledge that I think Gio and Brodie are one of the top pairings in the NHL and would have no problem having them staying together. Sometimes though I wonder if for the long term good of the organization it might not be better to break them up and have them both mentor/play with some of our younger prospects;giving us 3 effective pairings. A pairing with Gio and Morrison/Culkin and TJ with Spoon is something I would consider if we are not able to attain a good UFA or two for the back end. I would at least experiment with this idea during the preseason.

    • MattyFranchise

      I don’t see an idea like that progressing beyond the preseason if it even gets tried at all. Gio and Brodie are worse when they’re apart as it is. Also, which ever player the opposing team decides to target that game would really end up screwing over his rookie partner. I’m a firm believer in easing a young Dman into the game: start him off with all the OZone starts you can against the weakest competition and then slowly make their job harder until they start consistently failing and then leave em where they end up and let them develop there.

  • piscera.infada

    **I wrote this in response to a post in the previous Lambert article. I thought I’d post it here for thoughts, thanks.**

    Burnward wrote:

    Pretty sure that’s fine. Not a CBA expert though, but I believe that’s kosher with the current rules.

    You are correct, as far as I know, with the cap hit ar 7.5 in your situation though. Anyone else got a more concrete answer regarding disparity from year one to end of deal?

    The contract cannot vary more than 35% year-to-year, and the final year of the contract must be within 50% of the first year.

    My initial thought was a 5 year contract: $8 million (33 year old season), $8 million (34), $6 million (35), $6 million (36), $5 million (37). Cap-hit: $6.6 million.

    Or, if he wants slightly more money overall (as well as up-front): $9 million (33), $9 million (34), $6 million (35), $5 million (36), $5 million (37). Cap-hit: $6.8 million.

    The question I have is the actual cap-recapture on scenario 1 (above). **As I understand it, cap-recapture only applies to “long-term contracts”–those 7 years or longer in duration.

    [**If someone knows better, please enlighten me.]

  • CDB

    Does WOWY analysis take into account who a player is paired with when they are not with the subject of the WOWY?

    For example, Brodie’s +9.8% with Giordano which is great, however how much of that is a reflection of Giordano and how much of it is a reflection of the fact Brodie was paired with an AHL caliber defenseman (Engelland) when not with Gio.

    Just trying to get context around the number

  • Byron Bader

    Gio is a beast. If the Flames had two more defenseman that were in the same breath as TJ and Gio and could run Russell and Wideman on the 3rd pairing they’d have the best d-core in the league.

    I’d guess a 5 or maybe even 6 year deal if it drives down the AAV. Just under 7 with some big money dollar bills at the front.

    Hopefully they get that signed up quick and then move on to Backlund.