Player name: Mark Giordano
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Mark Giordano was paired primarily with T.J. Brodie this season, playing 890 5V5 minutes together but he also spent 588 minutes with other defenders. There is some debate among Flames fans about who is actually the better defenseman between the two of them but at this point in their respective careers my money is on Giordano. On a team that struggled with pretty much everything this season the Gio/Brodie pairing was a bright spot on a misused D corps over the course of the season and Gio in particular was understandably given a lot of the heavy lifting given his age, experience and ability.
Giordano had the second worst zone starts on the team at 46.92% (-2.95% relative) behind only Deryk Engelland and he finished the year with 50.26% corsi so by the numbers we can see that he drove drove possession in generally the right direction. It's worth stating that, while I haven't found a quality of competition model that I'm 100% happy with, he, by eye, generally played against the best players the opposing team had to offer on any given night. Twenty eight of his 56 points came at even strength showing that he's not just benefiting from being on the Flames 1st power play unit. This was also the first 82 game season that Giordano has played since the 2010-2011 season.
To add some perspective, he scored at a 0.73 P/G pace in 13/14, and a 0.79 P/G pace in 14/15, both Norris Trophy nominated seasons, while this season he scored at a 0.68 P/G pace. His 21 goals and 56 points were career highs and his 35 assists were two short of his previous season's career high of 37. Coincidentally his 35 assists also match his previous 82 games played season.
On a team that struggled with goaltending all season long, having a defenseman that scores at the rate that Gio does is a blessing. The fact that he does it against the League's best players just makes him even more valuable and in my mind completely justifies the contract that he will be starting next season. For all of the reasons stated above, I feel that giving Gio an A on the season is more than fair. He was the best defenseman on the Flames last season and is arguably one of the top 5 defensemen in the League.
Mark Giordano was a big bright spot in a very up and down season. Granted he didn't put up the numbers he was the last couple seasons before his injury, but let's not forget that his main partner on the blue line, T.J. Brodie, was also injured for 12 games so I think his numbers would have been better.
His leadership on and off the ice more than make up for his lack of offense this past season and he definitely deserves to have and keep the 'C'. My grade for Gio's season is an A.
Mark Giordano is the man. He had a pretty horrendous start to the year, due to a combination of his regular partner TJ Brodie being out with injury, playing with Dougie Hamilton who was adjusting to a new team and coming back from that significant injury suffered last season. 22 games into the season, Giordano had just 4 goals and 2 assists. It did not look too good, considering he had just been signed to a 6-year extension.
However, it was only a matter of time before the fearless leader bounced back. He scored 50 points in the final 60 games of the season, it was a return of the dominant Gio we had seen in recent years past. He also played a full 82 games this season, a big achievement considering he missed extended periods with injury in the past. Putting up career stats while taking on the toughest match ups, Giordano bounced back from a rough start and I am giving him an A- for his season.
What doesn't Gio do? He scores. He sets his teammates up. He leads a struggling defense. "The Captain" was one of the bright spots as usual for the Flames in 2015-16. He finished 3rd on the team in points with 56 and he led the Flames with 9 PPG's on the season. Gio's offensive stats aren't surprising seeing the Flames defence is more offensive oriented than anything else, but he also was tops on the team in blocked shots with 193. At times on the ice you could see the difficulty of this season wearing on him. He took some bad penalties out of frustration, but sometimes your leader needs to be that guy. Where he does excel is at being the team's leader. Stats are stats, but his most impressive contribution to the season was how he handled the Johnny Gaudreau/Sean Monahan/Lance Bouma fiasco. Gio was right out in front of it, took some of the blame because it's "his locker room" and then the issue was squashed. I'm sure whatever he said behind closed doors was justified and it took care of the "problem" swiftly. Those are the intangibles that leaders need to have and Mark Giordano no doubt has them. He's an easy A for the 2015-16 season.
Giordano was one of only three Flames this past season who played in all 82 games this year. This is big for Giordano as him as he hadn't reached that mark since 2010-11. Giordano continues to be a bright spot in the Flames organization and help anchor a defense core that was pretty chaotic early in the season. With the Flames still having a considerable target on their backs after last year's miracle run, it was pretty amazing to see Giordano set yet another career high in goals and points. He's a great leader for both the Flames and the city of Calgary and that's why he was nominated for the NHL Foundation Player Award which recognizes people who apply core values of hockey (commitment, perseverance, and teamwork) to enrich the lives the lives of the community. A for Gio after turning a tough start into another stellar season.
Giordano regressed a bit from last year's incredible pace, but he still played incredibly well. All one can ask of a defenseman is that they drive possession and Giordano did that while adding points. He was well above average at even strength, but his bread and butter was the power play where he was a dominant defenseman. He was subpar on the penalty kill however, perhaps from being overworked jumping into a full 82 game season - with Bob Hartley playing certain defensemen for five to ten minutes a game, Giordano racked up way too many minutes. Hopefully next year they can balance his work load a bit as it would probably do wonders for his scoring pace.