FlamesNation player evaluation: Mark Giordano

Considering just how poorly the Flames’ 2017-18 season played out, there are a lot of questions they’ll have to field as they prepare for the next year. One of those questions, however, will not be the on-ice performance of their captain and all around best defenceman, Mark Giordano. He may be 34 years old, but he’s shown absolutely no signs of slowing down.

2017-18 season summary

Giordano, once again, led the team. He was the Flames’ most relied-upon player, averaging the most ice team throughout the year, playing by far the most minutes on the penalty kill, and playing the most minutes out of all defencemen on the powerplay. Just about any time the Flames needed someone to take the other team to task, they turned to Giordano, and he lived up to his billing as the Flames’ top defender.

Games played Goals Assists Points TOI/GP 5v5 CF% 5v5 CF% rel OZS% PDO
82 13 25 38 24:47 57.67 +6.68 53.50 .986

This was only the fourth time in his career Giordano has played in all 82 games of the season, one of five Flames to do so this year. He was tied for 12th league-wide amongst all defencemen in ice time per game, and 31st for points. His 214 shots throughout the year also had him 10th in defensive shots across the NHL.

Giordano played almost exclusively alongside Dougie Hamilton. The pairing played 1,261 5v5 minutes together; his next most common defence partner was Travis Hamonic, whom he played all of 66 minutes with. Giordano and Hamilton clearly worked well together, though – their 58.25% 5v5 CF speaks to that. They were both 53.33% away from one another, albeit in limited minutes, suggesting that there wasn’t a passenger on the pairing: both benefited from playing with the other, while both were still rather good in their own rights.

The most common forwards Giordano played with were Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Micheal Ferland, Mikael Backlund, Matthew Tkachuk, and Michael Frolik, further suggesting that Giordano’s primary role this past year was to be a top player, playing alongside other top players.

In short, the Flames’ defensive depth takes a strong hit without Giordano, and they were much better off whenever he was on the ice.

Compared to last season

Giordano’s offence was about in line with his 2016-17 season: he scored one more goal, but registered two fewer assists. He did, however, average more than a full additional minute of ice time per game this season, jumping up from 23:35, though he was tied for the Flames’ lead in ice time in 2016-17, as well, with TJ Brodie.

Giordano had a higher corsi for rating this season, but he still clocked in at a rather good 54.06% in 2016-17. Perhaps more interesting is that his offensive zone start ratio was below 50% in 2016-17; his 53.50% in 2017-18 was actually the most offensive zone starts he’s had to work with since the 2008-09 season. Considering how the increased offensive zone time didn’t seem to make too much of a difference this season, perhaps the Flames may look into having him take more defensive zone starts in the future.

Although there’s also something to say for Giordano perhaps being unlucky. He had a 1.015 PDO in 2016-17 and, more pressing to him specifically, he had 63 more shots on net this season than the year prior, but his shooting percentage fell from 7.9% to 6.1%. Giordano’s been putting up offensive numbers ranging from respectable to awesome since he was elevated to number one defenceman status, and he may still yet have more of that in him.

What about next season?

Age doesn’t seem to have caught up to Giordano yet, though he’ll be 35 by the time the 2018-19 season starts. The biggest drop we’ve seen from him in recent years, however, has been going from 56 points in 2015-16 to the high-30s the past two seasons, and all that’s really meant is he’s gone from being one of the highest-scoring defencemen in the NHL to having one of those as his partner while still contributing a fair amount.

It’s to be seen how the Flames will shape up for next season, but they could do worse than going status quo with this guy. He seems ageless; there’s been no visible falters to his game. He has a top scoring partner to work with, and their new coach seems to recognize that.

Honestly, it wouldn’t at all be surprising to see Giordano outperform this season next year: still playing top minutes, still a guy the team can rely on to both score and defend with and against top teammates and competitors, and maybe even put more on the board.

Two seasons into Giordano’s team-leading cap hit, and his play continues to justify the number. It’d be a surprise if the third didn’t follow suit.

  • HAL MacInnis

    Does it make sense to split up Giordano and Hamilton so we can have a potentially well rounded top 4? Is Hamilton’s offensive play a defensive liability without Giordano? Gio will compliment just about any defenceman you throw at him, but who would work well with Dougie? Just spitballing.

    • JMK

      Not sure if anyone has suggested it but. . .
      Giordano – Brodie/Hamonic* (bury defensively)
      Valimaki – Hamilton (high offensive starts)
      Kulak – Hamonic/Andersson*
      Wotherspoon/Kylington/cheap UFA
      *Additional option provided in the event of Brodie trade

  • L.Kolkind

    I have seen that Carolina is willing to trade their 2nd what if we traded Monahan for it? It would open up a spot for Tavares and we could get Tkachuk. We could have a top line of Tkachuk – Tavares – Tkachuk to run over the oposition.

    • Squishin

      Nope. A proven, perennial 30-goal scorer is worth far more than an unproven draft pick, even though it’s a high one. Flames should still try to sign Tavares anyway – imagine the depth!

    • Al Rain

      There’s nothing saying we have to get rid of Monahan to make room for Tavares. Easy enough to bump him (and Gaudreau) down to the second scoring line (and Jankowski to the 3rd scoring line and Backlund/Frolik to the 4th/shutdown line).

      I like Tavares with our Tkachuk, maybe add Bennett.

      Give Gaudreau and Monahan Foo on the right side.

      Jankowski might work well with Ferland and Mangiapane.

      Dube slots in with Backlund and Frolik for shutdown.

      Hey, that’s a forward line up that could win a Cup. Three rookies in there and you still have to make Brouwer go away. But I could get behind that.

    • Thunder1

      Yeah, that’s a good idea… let’s trade our only top ten goal scorer for a guy who is shaping up to be not as good as his brother and wish that Tavares comes to his senses and turns down the $75 million he’s gonna’ get somewhere else to come play for the Flames.

    • T&A4Flames

      Dear lord. First we had to endure the trade Hamilton crap and now we’re looking to trade Monahan.
      People need to stop looking at the guys that aren’t the problem. Hamilton and Monahan do their jobs very well. We’re not rebuilding people. These guys are top scorers at their positions and under 25 years old.

      • Roger the Shrubber

        It’s like everyone is playing NHL 18.

        Also, if this lunacy happened, I hope it wouldn’t be to draft Brady Tkachuk when Svechnikov/Zadina are still on the board.

      • Dougiefred

        Why not trade everyone for fear of diminishing returns. Iam sure we would all be annoyed if that became the philosophy on which the team was operated. Were not running a construction company where new is best.

        • SgtRoadBlock

          then why r we on r 3rd Coach and what 11 Goaltender in under 5 years? but put no blame on the main core ? Man i would not be shock if 48% of Flame fans think we going for a Cup run next year..
          A Rushed Rebuild has but us in this hole and to get out of it you need to cut some core players out of that Locker room.

          • freethe flames

            So who do you see as guys that are the problem in the locker room? With guys who are under contract I begin with Brouwer; he is significantly under performs on the ice and iMO provides next to no leadership. Is there anyone else who I think is a problem; I have no clue. But a clear message could be sent by moving on from Brouwer.

          • SgtRoadBlock

            Brower is not the Core that just a bad ufa signing, that happens with every team,
            The core is Gio,Tj, Deer,Backland,FRo, Jonny Give away, Sean and now Matty
            when Bob was Coaching this team is was good 6 out of 10 games, but then the core would mist away for 14 days, and you can say the same when GG was Coaching the core would Mist away for 7 to 9 games not ready when the puck drops same old same old,
            Good Luck to Peters i hope he can do something diff to this Roster playing with Heart…

  • freethe flames

    If the Flames move two defenders this off season as I suspect I also think they will add from the bottom part of the UFA market to be the 6th/7th; someone like Folin.