Mark Giordano is Calgary’s Masterton nominee this season

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.

  • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

    Just saw this in Friedman’s 30 thoughts column, this could mean that Bennett wouldn’t need to be protected for an expansion draft after next season, and that Kylington would be exempt for 1 more year after that?

    Friedman states:

    13. A couple of astute Tweeters pointed out Toronto’s William Nylander is already a second-year pro, having played last season for MoDo in the Swedish Hockey League. In theory, that would force the Maple Leafs to protect him next June. However, I’ve heard there is a provision that players who play professionally while still having junior eligibility will not have those seasons count towards their expansion status. That avoids headaches for whoever drafts Patrik Laine, Auston Matthews and Jesse Puljujarvi, too.

    • Nick24

      I don’t think last year qualified as a “pro season” for Bennett, as he is still eligible for the Calder Trophy this year. Either way, if the provision Friedman was talking about regarding junior eligible seasons does become an actual clause then Bennett’s first pro season would be the year after next.

      • MattyFranchise

        Calder eligibility has nothing to do with professional experience. It comes down to NHL experience and age.

        For example, Panarin has tons of pro experience in the KHL but this is his first NHL season so he’s still eligible for the Calder.

  • The Last Big Bear

    “The Masterton Trophy is awarded to the NHL player who most dramatically returns to a high level of play following a gruesome injury or terrible disease the previous season.”

    Note that Devan Dubnyk was given the award last year, demonstrating that the Oilers are considered a terrible disease for all intents and purposes.

  • RKD

    Well deserved, he came back from a pretty significant injury and even though he had a slower tough start to the season he’s looks back in form and amongst the Flames leaders in scoring and has set a new career high in goals and points. Go Gio!

  • The Last Big Bear

    In all seriousness though, Gio won’t even get considered.

    It usually goes to guys like Harding, who played with Multiple Sclerosis, or Phil Kessel who lost a nut to testicular cancer.

    My guesses:

    3) Jagr – just for being such a beast

    2) Connor McDavid – for not rage-quitting hockey when he got drafted by the Oilers

    1) Big John Scott – worked his way from the goon ranks to become captain of the All Star team!!