The Calgary Flames are reportedly keen on keeping their captain.
TSN hockey insider Pierre LeBrun appeared on Wednesday’s edition of “That’s Hockey” to discuss the Flames’ strategy to protect Mark Giordano in advance of the upcoming Seattle Kraken expansion draft.
My sense from talking to other sources around the league about the Flames over the last couple of days is, they are looking at every single scenario. They don’t want to lose Mark Giordano to Seattle, but it’s also probably a stretch to suggest that a leading option would be to protect four defensemen in an eight-skater format instead of going 7-3-1, because now you’re exposing some forwards, potentially, that you don’t want to lose. So, what I’m hearing is that, over the last two or three days, there have been renewed discussions between Seattle and Calgary about what the price would be for the Kraken not to take Mark Giordano and, frankly, given what I’m hearing from other teams around the league, I suspect that price is just too high right now — on Wednesday. The protected lists don’t have to be sent in until Saturday. So, it’s a game of poker. Will Ron Francis, the GM of the Kraken, lower his price for all these teams that are really sweating this out between now and Saturday? He probably will in some cases, but in some other cases, he’ll probably stand his ground depending [on] what he knows is in front of him. But, certainly, the other option for Calgary — if they can’t negotiate a side deal with Seattle — would be to simply trade a defenseman or make a hockey trade with another team, and I think that’s been explored as well.
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Giordano will turn 38 in October and has served as the Flames’ captain since the 2013–14 season. He won the Norris Trophy in 2019 as the NHL’s best defenseman.
The Seattle Kraken, led by general manager Ron Francis, will have the ability to select 30 players from the NHL’s existing franchises (excluding the Vegas Golden Knights) on July 21. Each participating team will submit a selection of players they wish to keep from Seattle; all protection lists are due on July 17.
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As LeBrun mentioned, the Flames will be able to select between two different configurations for their protection list:
  • Seven forwards, three defensemen, one goaltender;
  • Eight skaters, one goaltender.
The following Flames players are eligible for the expansion draft and will either be protected or made available to the Kraken:
  • Forwards: Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Milan Lucic, Elias Lindholm, Derek Ryan (UFA), Andrew Mangiapane, Josh Leivo (UFA), Dillon Dube, Matthew Phillips, Byron Froese, Glenn Gawdin, Zac Rinaldo (UFA), Justin Kirkland, Brett Ritchie (UFA), Buddy Robinson (UFA), Dominik Simon1u
  • Defense: Mark Giordano, Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, Chris Tanev, Oliver Kylington, Michael Stone (UFA), Nikita Nesterov (UFA), Alex Petrovic (UFA)
  • Goaltender: Jacob Markstrom (NMC), Tyler Parsons, Louis Domingue (UFA)
Due to the no-movement clause in his contract, Jacob Markstrom will be automatically protected in the expansion draft. Milan Lucic has agreed to waive his no-movement clause and will likely be left exposed.
While Giordano is the Flames’ captain, he also looks to have the shortest remaining runway of the Flames’ current four best defensemen. Both Rasmus Andersson and Noah Hanifin are 13 years Giordano’s junior; Tanev is 31, has three years left on his existing deal, and arguably ranked among the NHL’s best defensive defensemen in his debut go-round with Calgary.
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If the Flames opted to protect Giordano in an eight-skater scheme, they would only be able to protect a maximum of four of the 18 forwards listed above. The team would likely have to choose between protecting Andrew Mangiapane or Dillon Dube, both of whom are currently in their early-to-mid 20s.
Giordano remained one of the league’s better defensemen as a 37-year-old in 2020–21, posting nine goals and 26 points in 56 games while ranking 12th among NHL rearguards with 11.7 expected goals above replacement (according to Evolving-Hockey).
He was also the fourth-oldest defenseman in a league where Father Time remains undefeated.
Giordano has one year remaining (and a 13-team no-trade clause) on a contract paying him $6.75 million per season.
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