Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano has been nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy by a vote of the Calgary chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. (Disclosure: nobody from FlamesNation is a PHWA member, we just think it’s neat.) The nomination was announced by the PHWA’s Twitter account this morning.
Named after the late Bill Masterton, who tragically passed away after an injury suffered in a game in 1968, the award goes to the player that “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”
Giordano is basically the personification of working hard to overcome obstacles.
- He was undrafted in the OHL, but made the Owen Sound Attack as a try-out player.
- He went through his years of NHL draft eligibility unchosen and even registered for university, but earned a spot with the Flames’ minor league affiliate in Lowell because Darryl Sutter suddenly decided to prioritize the farm system after the Flames lost in the 2004 Stanley Cup Final.
- He emerged as a good AHL player and kept improving to the point where he was a strong NHL option.
- He told Darryl Sutter to go fly a kite and went to the Russian Superleague for a season, playing in Moscow Dynamo (the Ministry of the Interior-sponsored team, rather than Red Army) rather than under-cutting his own value by taking a two-way contract. (Sutter caved and signed him in December of that year.)
- He returned to North America and kept improving, quietly becoming a really strong NHL player.
- He’s emerged as a perennial Norris Trophy contender and All-Star, though in each of the past two seasons he’s missed a big chunk of the season and been taken out of Norris contention.
As of this writing, Giordano is one of three Flames players to dress for every single game and he’s enjoying a career year offensively. Aside from perhaps Micheal Ferland or Matt Stajan, there is no stronger potential Flame to consider for the Masterton.