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.

  • 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.

  • KACaribou

    Thank you Gio for not being the greedy SOB we all feared you had become when news of a possible $9 – $10 million demand first hit.

    Thank you for being the team guy we had all hoped you really were. Your contract will enable the Flames to do so much more and to be so much better because we can afford to have you on the team!

    You proved to be exactly the fine man we all believed you to be!

  • 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.

    • Bob Cobb

      You need to stop drinking water straight from the Oldman River! No way the Flames win 2 cups in the 6 years of the contract when they have won 1 in there entire history.

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Parallex

    I’m not saying Gio is Nik Lidstrom. But I believe he’s going to age a lot more like Lidstrom than, say, Zdeno Chara (washed up at 36). I think there’s a real good chance he’s still worth 6.75 mil at 39 – a good chance there’s not a bad year on this contract.

  • 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?

  • prendrefeu

    I hate Oilers fans more than I dislike their team. Is that even possible?
    Geez they’re annoying little brats.

    Go to the mall or make something of your lives, seriously.
    Good luck to your team when the season starts, and even then, NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR STUPID TROLLING ON THE NEWS OF OTHER TEAMS.

    Your posts are just pathetic and ruin the entire nations network. Just stick to your own site, your own news, and enjoy your own team. If there is a cross-post across the nations which is NOT about your team, such as this one, then read it and move on.

    Or, better yet, read the title and realize it isn’t about your team and, once again, MOVE ON.

    Seriously, grow up you pathetic man-children. You’re making your entire city look bad.

      • DestroDertell

        He played three full seasons in the last six years. Worth noting last year’s injury was a complete fluke; not exactly material for the “injury prone” narrative.

        • Train#97

          Get your facts straight! The last 4 years he averaged 58 games played 5 and 6 years ago he played 82. He has not played 3 – 82 game seasons and the 2 years before that he played 58 and 48 games.
          He is a very good player but he has had injury problems his whole career.
          Not trolling , just stating the facts, so don’t get so defensive!! No big deal but he ain’t no iron man!!

          • Train#97

            Uh ya I did factor that 48 game season . He has had a crapload of missed games if you want to ignore it go ahead but it’s reality!!
            Giordano has played 509 /720 possible games. That’s an average of 30% games missed due to injury in his career.

          • Train#97

            Walter Walter Walter 61+ 47+64+61= 233 you following Walter? Now divide 233 by 4 still with me Walter? Ok divide and you get 58 . Wow Walter. There you go son!! Average of 58 games

          • The GREAT Walter White

            The last 6 years he has played 397 out of 458 possible games.

            Assuming all the missed games were due to injury; he played 87% of the games without being injured.

            Let’s look at the Oilers “core” shall we…


          • Train#97

            Walter you forgot the 3 seasons before that. You just can’t omit the years you want. Done playing your game Walter. Don’t expect another comment so you’ll have to find another to troll.

          • The GREAT Walter White

            Did he not play 82 games 8 years ago because he was injured ?
            Or did he not make the lineup those nights ?

            He was a late bloomer. The Flames don’t just put their first overall picks in the NHL from the start you know…(BTW Gio was not drafted….).

            What were his injuries? broken foot from blocking a shot ?
            (Oilers would never get an injury like that…)
            Super dirty can opener?

            He is Not injury prone. Just some bad luck from playing hard the last couple of years.


          • piscera.infada

            As much as it pains me to agree with WW, he’s right in this instance. Giordano was more of a fringe player coming into the ’08-’09 season. Any seasons before that he was yo-yo’d between the AHL and NHL–he didn’t “miss those games due to injury”. In fact, he played in the KHL the year before, because he thought he had paid his dues in AHL to warrant an NHL job–many in Calgary thought his time as a Flame was over.

            While signing an ever aging player to a 6 year contract is, in fact, a concern because of increased injury risk, I too feel the narrative about Giordano being “injury prone” is way overblown. As WW said, of the four year period everyone points to, one was lockout shortened, one he missed significant time breaking a bone in his ankle blocking a shot (which could happen to anyone at any given moment, and is not a recurring injury), and the other was a strange can opener play where a stick was pinned between his arm and body creating a significant amount of torque on his biceps tendon (again, flukey, however that may have weakened the tendon, I don’t know).

            However, it’s not like he’s had three concussions in four years, or two torn ACL’s in four years.

          • piscera.infada

            All I can find is “lower body injury” and I don’t remember it. I’m willing to concede the fact that he was injured for three of the last four years, that’s fact, there’s no disputing it.

            Making the argument that a broken ankle off a shot block, or a freak injury like the one this last season, is being “prone to injury”, is akin to me saying “McDavid has weak hands, and is thusly prone to devastating hand injuries” simply because he missed a punch and shattered his hand on the glass in one game. Disregarding the nature of injuries in these cases, quite literally belies the idea of being ‘prone’ to injury.

            I’m also willing to concede that I am, in fact somewhat worried about his body deteriorating over the remaining 7 years he’s a Flame. I think most Flames’ fans would tell you that’s reasonable. However, I prefer having Gio on the current iteration of the Flames much more than not having Gio, and I also understand that if Gio made it to UFA status next year he’d be offered a contract that in all likelihood would dwarf the one he just signed. Sometimes you have to take on risk with players, and as much I would have loved the same dollar value for four years, that was never going to happen.

          • piscera.infada

            In fact, he played in the KHL the year before…

            *RSL. The KHL didn’t exist yet.

            All I can find is “lower body injury” and I don’t remember it.

            For some reason I remember it being a hip flexor or something.

          • MontanaMan

            Please go back to ON and start a thread on the Oilers solid defensive core that includes castaways, pylons and under achieving youngsters. The Flames defence is stellar and one of the best in the league. Meanwhile in Edmonton, the city is rejoicing over another forward while their defensive game remains one of the worst in the league.

          • BurningSensation

            Train p!ss off. What is your point that you seem to want to troll on a Flames site? Gio is injury prone & Flames will regret this stupid signing? Why don’t you just come out & say what you mean & get lost. Gio is an awesome player when he plays. I guess if you disagree that he isn’t because he rarely plays a full season, it would be something like Taylor Hall who many Oil faithful feel he is the best winger in the NHL. But geez, he’s way younger & in his young career he’s played 65games, 61 games, **45games(lockout), 75 games & 53 games. Seems to me Oilers have invested 6.0 mill per year on an injury prone player too. I guess that means he isn’t very good because he’s reckless & isn’t very durable.

            Every thread you seem to hijack & I see nothing but your bantering with several regulars here. Go away now, I think I understand that your opinion is that Gio is not very durable. I get it. Neither is Hall but they are big pieces of our respective teams & we Flames fans are thrilled to have him signed for another 6 years.

          • Captain Ron

            You tell em buddy!!!

            Hate coming here to continually see a bunch of useless clutter from fans of another team. Especially the cowards who don’t have the balls to sign in under a registered user name. News flash for you we don’t care what you think.

            Lets drop the puck in October and see where we all are by the end of November or December. Then lets have a chat. Pretty sure I know who is ahead of who at that point.

          • Train#97

            Never once did I say he was injury prone or he wasn’t worth the contract,so quit coming up with your own conclusions. Find one instance where I called him a loser or tool or mcsuck and luck or anything derogatory!!!!