Coming off of a Norris-calibre season cut short by injury, Mark Giordano began the season in fine form, only to have history repeat.
He had a new personal best in points this season with 48 in 61 games played. Even with so few games played, the captain ended up fifth for the Flames in scoring (ninth in goals and fourth in assists). That also put him 13th in NHL defencemen for points, and he was a top 10 blueliner in points per 60 minutes.
That impressive offensive output came in some of the hardest situations played by any player this season. He played huge minutes, starting from the defensive zone, against the toughest competition, and he made a positive difference in possession for the Flames when he was on.
If he had played just a few more games, he should have been a shoo-in for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the greatest all-around defenceman in the league. Arguably, he still should have at least gotten a nod. M&G weighs in:
Do you hear that chorus of angels? They’re all for the guy who should be the back-to-back Norris Trophy winner, had injuries not stolen it from him twice in a row. Mark Giordano. Is. Beyond. Incredible. Gio plays the toughest minutes with heavy defensive zone starts, always against the opponent’s toughest competition, and he’s one of the best Flames at coming out on top. Not only that, but his insane offensive outburst had him be the Flames’ top scorer right up until he went down with injury.
Not only that, but man, wouldn’t you totally run through a wall for this guy? He’s the complete package: top scoring, outstanding defence, inspiring leader, probably a really, really nice dude. His only crime was being a late bloomer. And suffering these unfortunate injuries, one of which may also have cost him Olympic gold. He deserves so much more than what he’s gotten so far. He’s the absolute lifeblood, heart, and soul of the Flames, and it’s a treat to watch him. Hopefully it keeps up for a while longer yet.
Mike FAIL (A):
Mark Giordano is by far, in many regards, the best player on the roster. He is also without much disputING one of the top defensemen in the league. We should be discussing his inevitable Norris trophy, but alas another injury robs him from the proper recognition he deserves. If only Steve Bernier wasn’t Steve Bernier. Everything seemed lined up for him to take home the Norris and then the injury happened. Life is cruel and unfair.
If we take a deeper look at who Mark Giordano is, it comes down to one sentence: Mark Giordano plays the most difficult circumstances, and excels in them. He is a possession machine, he is fantastic on special teams, and at even strength he is a focal point of nearly all the success. Oh, and he plays top competition, too. He is next to perfect, minus being a late bloomer. He's a real leader, not on the basis of intangibles, but the impact he creates when playing.
Giordano puts up points at an elite pace. He drives possession at an elite pace. He is elite on the penalty kill. He is elite on the power play. He is deployed on difficult defensive zone starts and faces elite competition. The only possible complaint anybody could possibly have about him was that he shouldn’t have been injured. He is as elite as elite gets and if he’s not worthy of an A+ nobody is.
Gio breaks my heart. When he went down in the game against New Jersey, the collective hearts of Calgary dropped - there was no way the Flames could make the postseason without their best player and captain on the ice. And there was no way he could win the Norris, which was his to lose at that point in the season. He does so much for the team, and he’s actively involved in the community - he’s the Superman of the Calgary Flames.
The second consecutive season where he has been robbed of a Norris Trophy thanks to an injury. If you look at the usage charts, Giordano is far and away the best defender out of the three finalists, and it’s barely close. He starts in the defensive zone against the opposition’s best players and always winds up in the offensive zone. Gio finished 13th in defensive scoring despite missing a quarter of the season. Oh captain, my captain.
Mark Giordano is everything you could hope for in a captain, and the fact that injury robbed him of the Norris trophy sickens me. He leads by example in every situation and is the heartbeat of this side. How the Flames made the playoffs without him still bewilders me, and a fit Giordano is the difference between a good side and a great side.
The only A+ score from me goes to Mark Giordano, the Norris-calibre captain of the Calgary Flames. He excels in every area of the game, playing against the NHL’s toughest competition in the process. Giordano plays excellent positional defense, limiting chances against and creating turnovers. He is patient with the puck, and with incredible vision and skating ability he consistently quarterbacks controlled transitions up the ice. As if this skillset wasn’t enough, Gio knows exactly when to get involved offensively. His 48 points in 61 games puts him at 5th among regular defensemen in points per 60. You couldn’t ask for a better leader on a young team trying to make its mark.
No surprise, there's a lot of love at M&G for the esteemed captain, earning a solid A+ for his efforts this season.
Brad Treliving has stated that Gio's new contract is a top priority for the Flames this summer, so there should be quite the raise coming for him based on his efforts the past couple of seasons. While he is older, he didn't peak until recently, so he should have a few more years left in him - as long as he stays healthy. Hopefully his recovery goes well this summer so he can return in fighting form to finally nab that trophy that so rightly belongs with him.