Report: Starting point in Giordano negotiations set at 8-years, $72 million

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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving had made it no secret: it’s a priority of his organization to lock up team captain Mark Giordano before he hits the unrestricted free agent market next summer.

Though he was always effective, Giordano is the rare late-blooming superstar. Over the past few seasons,  Giordano has blossomed from being a bona fide top pairing player, to a Norris-caliber 1A defenseman for the Flames. 

It’s not going to be cheap to extend him, and indeed, Giordano’s camp is opening negotiations with an eight-year, $72 million ask ($9 million annual average value) according to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos. Kypreos’ report isn’t the first we’ve heard of it, it corroborates a report from last week by typically dogged TSN’s Frank Seravalli.

A Big Ticket

A $9 million annual ticket for Giordano would represent a significant raise over his current deal (which carries a cap-hit just a hair over $4 million), but based on the market price of a bluechip 1A defenseman’s unrestricted seasons, that’s about right. 

If we think about the other elite defenders who’ve signed big deals that purchase unrestricted seasons well into their 30s recently, we have to think of P.K. Subban, Ryan Suter, and Shea Weber. The thing about those comparables, however, is that for a variety of reasons – whether it’s a now illegally front loaded contract structure, or the buying out of restricted seasons – their contracts carry an artificially lowered annual average value. 

The Flames won’t have that luxury in dealing with Giordano, but if we look at the actual salaries that Weber, Suter, and Subban will take home in their early 30s, you can why see Giordano’s camp would be looking for this sort of valuation:

Salary Subban Weber Suter
Age-31 $8 million $12 million $9 million
Age-32 $8 million $12 million $9 million
Age-33 UFA $6 million $9 million
Age-34   $6 million $9 million
Age-35   $6 million $9 million

So while a $9 million ticket for Giordano may give you a tough case of sticker shock, it’s actually roughly market value for a player of Giordano’s caliber during these years of his career.

Complications

Obviously Calgary has a lot of balls in the air in terms of long-term salary cap commitments. Cornerstone pieces Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan will see their entry-level contracts expire the same summer as Giordano’s, and Sam Bennett’s ELC (who may be the best of Calgary’s young pieces) will expire the subsequent year. So the Flames have to tread carefully here from a cap management perspective.

The other key angle here is Giordano’s age. 

Because of his non-traditional development path, Giordano became an elite player very late in the typical career arc. As a result, the Flames aren’t buying the unrestricted years through his late 20s, meaning this is a deal for a player who will be aging rapidly – perhaps into his very late 30s – throughout the course of his next deal. There’s risk of declining performance on a very expensive contract.

Giordano will be 32 in the first year of his next deal, and it would seem to me that the Flames would be wise to do whatever they can possibly do to keep the term of his contract down. If that means signing him to a four or five year deal with an annual average value in the neighbourhood of $11 million to $12 million, that’s the poison pill you have to swallow…

  • everton fc

    8 years? He’s nuts. 5-6 years, max. And I think $9mill is a lot. I think the contracts of Monahan/Garudrea/Bennett/Brodie down the short road, need to be considered.

    I’ve wondered all along, with the organization bringing in Hamilton, and signing him to the contract they did, does this take some leverage away from Gio’s camp? What Hamilton a way for the Flames to protect themselves if Gio plays hardball??

    Shorter term, say 3-4 yrs, 10mill/year? Or, you move Gio and Wideman, sign Franson and Schlemko, and carry on with the rebuild.

    • MonsterPod

      I think everyone was shell shocked at the DH contract being under 6.0mill.
      Gio is a team player, he loves Calgary & being Captain of something that looks pretty darn good right now, especially with DH on board. I’m sure BT is telling him this team is quickly transitioning from rebuild to being relevant again. I think Gio will probably take another discount & grab a 6 year deal at 39 mill. Still the highest paid player but leaving us lots of cap space to add another very important piece. I see Gio being onside with this. BT is going to amaze us again.

  • MonsterPod

    Gio is a 9M defenseman now, and next year. But not in his mid thirties.

    And I’ve heard he will be 33 when the first season of his next contract begins.

    5 years, 7.5M

    He wants to retire a Flame? He can. Just sign another two year deal when you’re 37-38 for a more reasonable salary.

    Love Gio. I don’t believe he’s gonna hold Calgary’s feet to the fire.

  • RKD

    Well Gio knows he’s got to start at 9 in order to land at somewhere between 7-8. If they are paying Hamilton 5.75 then Gio is getting at least 2 million more per season. He’s going to want to be the highest paid Flames d-man and if he has his way the highest paid NHL d-man.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Beyond ridiculous. At 33 years old? 9M x 8 years? Yeah, that won’t come back to bite the team. What is Gio thinking? Anything more than 7.5 x 5 years (and that’s going up from my preference of 7M x 4 years) MAX!!! is insanity and I’d trade him at that point.

    Love the guy, want to keep him, but if the report is true and if Gio’s camp holds firm, 72M for a 33 year old with his injury history is pure greed on Gio’s part. We got Dougie now, Gio can be used to fill holes and restock picks if that’s the case.

  • everton fc

    Gio’s camp better come down huge on their demands (both $$$ and especially term) as this sort of ridiculous contract demand does nothing positive for the scenario. If he holds to his guns and lets greed takeover to this extreme he’ll leave the Flames no choice but to move him and with Dougie H. in the mix now it certainly allows management to do that.

    I hope it doesn’t come to that as I love Gio and everything he does for the team and community but we cannot mortgage the future over any one player, especially someone who will be 33 years old when the new contract kicks in.

  • RedMan

    The art of negotiations..start high and hopefully they can meet at a reasonable term and value. My only concern is Giordano’s agent is Rich Winter. For those familiar he is the “Pr__K of all agents. Good on Giordano for hiring this SOB but I will be surprised if he allows Winter to push the envelope given the respect the organization has for Giordano….