Flames sign captain Mark Giordano to 6-year, $40.5 million contract extension

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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

The Calgary Flames have signed 31-year-old defenseman and captain Mark Giordano to a six-year contract extension the club announced on Tuesday. The deal is worth a reported $40.5 million overall, and carries an annual average value of $6.75 million.

Giordano – who turns 32 prior to the beginning of this upcoming season – is entering the final year of his current five-year, $20.1 million contract, so obviously this new deal represents a significant and well earned raise. It’s also a pretty big win for Flames management, considering that Giordano’s camp reportedly was looking for an eight-year deal worth more than $70 million.

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While the contract arguably comes in below market value, it’s still a risky proposition for the Flames. Giordano, after all, won’t suit up for his first regular season game under his new contract until he’s 33-years-old, and he’ll be taking up $6.75 million in cap space at the age of 39 – during a season in which all of Calgary’s projectable, elite core (Sam Bennett, Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau) will be getting paid at unrestricted free agent rates. 

It seems highly unlikely that Giordano will be the player he is today during the latter stages of the contract. 

Obviously the injury issue is another concern. Though Giordano has mostly been extraordinarily durable in his career, he hasn’t played a full 82 game season since the 2010-11 campaign. Even for a savvy, puck-moving defender like Giordano, it can become difficult to stay healthy when playing a physically demanding position into your mid- to late- 30s. 

Risks are part and parcel with retaining elite talent in their unrestricted free agent seasons, but they’re particularly pronounced for Giordano because of his odd career path. This is a player who wasn’t really elite until he turned 29, but based on what he’s done over the past two seasons, is easily a top-10 defender in the game. 

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We’ll have to see how this plays out over the subsequent seven years, but what’s clear today is that this is a big ticket deal for a player outside of his traditional prime years. Even in spite of the favourable cap hit it’s a tough deal for a team that’s likely to be committing serious chunks of change and cap space to a small group of key, star-quality forwards in the coming years. It’s also a significant hometown discount on Giordano’s part, which goes a long way towards minimizing that risk. 

When you’re hot, you’re hot. And there’s no doubting that this summer Flames management has been hot.

  • Train#97

    Here is a little chart I put together comparing two players:
    Possible Games Player a Player b
    82 65 82
    82 61 61
    48 45 47
    82 75 64
    82 53 61

    Which of these 2 players is more injury prone?

    Player a is forward and player b is defenceman.

    Player a is often slammed for being soft and not a very good two way player.

    Player b is never slammed for being soft and is a very effective two way player.

    Player a numbers went down significantly last year because of his injury and player b’s numbers actually went up despite his injury.

    You all can decide which player you would rather have on your team?

  • SickFloBro

    Great contract for a great player. With Gaudreau and Monahan set to get new deals next summer, the Flames might have to get aggressive to rid themselves of some bad contracts over the coming year.

    • The Fall

      It really feels like BT is setting the stage for manageable contract expectations across the board. Neither of them are going to sign Voracek deals anytime soon.

  • Derzie

    Best to not ruin a glorious day by claiming ‘best D’. We now have a very good D that can compete with anyone and our core D is locked for the battle. Who is best is decided every June. Stats or no stats.

  • Danomitee

    I don’t know why everyone was getting bent out of shape about Gios reps asking for 9mil for 8 years. They made a case that he would deserve that much based on other dmen who are his calibre and make that price. It would be pretty poor representation if they just showed up and said Gio wants 7 million at ohhh 3 years. That makes it a lot easier for Treliving to start at say 4 and meet in the middle. All in all great deal for both sides.

  • RedMan

    Trading picks for Hamilton – coup

    Snatching up Frolik from FA – coup

    Getting Gio to sign this deal – coup

    Treliving must have had his initial GM training in CIA black ops overthrowing dictators and free states alike!

  • CofRed4Life

    Yahoo!!!! This seems to be Treliving’s model. Do most everything behind the scenes, make people wonder if anything’s even happening, and then BAM! Hit them when they least expect it. Great work BT.

  • mk

    To be honest, I thought that was a typo when I first read it. I assumed it was 5 years to $40.5M ($8.1M per). Good cap hit, more years than ideal, but a good deal to shift the pain to later on. It will be harder to deal with in 5+ years, but hopefully we’ll have had a nice competing window in that time.

  • Captain Ron

    This is excellent news!!! With the addition of Hamilton I can’t wait to see this group of defense play. Shaping up to be one of the best groups we have ever had on “D”

  • Bananaberg

    Great deal for the heart of the team. Sets a good upper limit number for some future contract conversations…

    Let’s also consider some math for those worried about cap issues next year and beyond:

    If BT felt the opportunity was there to add another dman, he could buyout/shed the following guys after next season (they have one year remaining):

    Jones (expires)
    Smid (LTIR candidate?)

    Now let’s say that Monahan and Johnny sign identical contracts that aren’t traditional bridge deals. Let’s say those contracts are $6mm.

    That would leave us with about $7mm to resign Jooris, Byron, and another dman (*conservatively assuming the cap ceiling stays flat!)

    Gio took a very fair price to give BT flexibility to build a hell of team. We all agree here that there are moves to be made on the “asset management” front over the next year or two, but any genuine concern that BT won’t manage through it like a boss is unfounded.

    • SickFloBro

      I’m not so much “concerned” as I am interested.

      One would think the Flames would let David Jones walk after this season, but wouldn’t we want to extend Hudler? Might have to give the guy a raise, too. Personally, I’d find way to trade Colborne and Byron if I could.

      And Kris Russell? Wouldn’t we want him back?

      And goaltending? Sure, Anaheim has had success rolling with two young guys, but I’d think a prudent move would be to extend one of Hiller/Ramo for another couple of years with Ortio as a backup (who also needs to be signed at the end of this year).

      I know BT and his team have models upon models upon models. It’ll be fun to see how things shake out.

      • Parallex

        Kris Russell is highly overrated. I’m fine with him on the ticket we have him on now but if he wants more next time out then I’m equally fine with cutting bait on him.

        • piscera.infada

          I’m completely with you–I thought Russell was a sure fire resign, but then they traded for Hamilton. I mean, I think you could easily trade or let Russell walk, keep Wideman the final year and hope one of, and then another of the young guys can fill their roles.

      • SmellOfVictory

        Gotta let the young guys play sometime. Wotherspoon is turning 23 after next season, Morrison will be turning 24, and Nakladal may be NHL quality as well; lots of guys who are likely ready to take Russell’s spot after this season.

        Hudler would be nice to keep, but I wouldn’t want the Flames throwing down big money for him.

        • SickFloBro

          Totally agree. For some reason I have it in my head that our organizational depth at D is worse than it is. Training camp battles will be interesting this year for sure.

          Agree about Hudler too. A raise somewhere south of 650k per year is what I was thinking.

    • Bananaberg

      *Forgot to mention: my model included Hudler at $6mm as well!

      (that’s for another conversation, but I’d love to keep him for another 4 years)

      So the actual cap space number (without any inflation increase to the ceiling) could be somewhere around $13mm.

      We are in pretty good shape. Keep developing our prospects from within to fill out the bottom 6 and let this team gel.

      Who knows, with this defensive core, Ramo could start to look like #34 from a few years back.

  • Reidja

    Wow. That is a stellar deal! I expected the term but the annual average is lower than most people expected I think.

    The Flames have a fantastic top 3 signed for the foreseeable future at a total hit under $17.5MM. Having our defense this solid for a number of years, taking up less than 25% of our cap space, is fantastic salary management.

  • Parallex

    This is a fair deal. He takes less then he should now but gets more then he should later.

    Now… let’s see some of the fat (Engelland, Smid, Raymond etc. etc.) trimmed.

      • SickFloBro

        There are new rules about “burying contracts” in the AHL now, right? Like, only a portion of the AAV comes off the books? I could be totally wrong on that though.

        Can anyone clarify?

  • DoubleDIon

    greatest thing here is: the bar has been set for anyone going forward negotiating contracts… “Gio is at 6.7; you think you’re better?!”

    Fantastic job by Gio & management on this! A selfless captain left money on the table so the team won’t be as handcuffed down the road

  • TheRealPoc

    I know plenty of us had apprehension over what this extension would eventually look like, but I don’t think there were many of us who really wanted Gio to leave. Yes, his health & age are worrisome, but at least this feels like we’re still paying for some prime seasons of elite production yet to come; almost certainly not all six, but hopefully three, maybe even four. And make no mistake, when healthy, he’s been Norris-calibre. Under $7M/yr is a snap call.

    At the end of the day, I just don’t think you can let a guy like Giordano walk, especially considering the window we’re about to begin. Hamilton, Frolik & Bennett have all contributed to accelerating the ETA to contention and if that’s the true endgame, Gio had to remain in the fold. To think the Flames now have Giordano/Brodie/Hamilton locked up through 2020, at a combined price of a shade over $17M/yr, is almost surreal.

    If there’s ever been a more positive offseason for this franchise, I sure as hell can’t remember it. Kudos to Treliving, who’s absolutely tearing the cover off the ball right now as it flies over the fence.

  • RKD

    This is the best news I’ve heard all week and probably all summer. Gio’s camp was asking for $72 million dollars over 8 years, even though you don’t get what you ask for that’s still well below even what I thought he would end up with. Gio is a true captain and leader to take such a massive hometown discount for a Norris calibre d-man is unheard of. I’m really not worried about Gio making that type of dough, worst case scenario they can just keep sliding him down the pecking order. However, I don’t see that anytime soon unless Hamilton becomes better than Brodie and Gio. Great to see Gio really believing in Treliving’s master plan. Mark must believe we could be Stanley Cup champions in the not too distant future. Wideman comes off the book in two years or sooner if we trade him. There should still be plenty of money to dole out to guys like Gaudreau, Monahan and Bennett in the coming years.

  • Franko J

    Great signing.

    The true embodiment of how negotiating should be between the player, agent and organization. Quiet and classy.

    Today’s contract extension for Giordano is just another small step in the right direction for the team.

    Next up: cannot wait for the prospects tournament.