NHL.com has released their top 20 NHL defencemen list. And one of Calgary Flames top-pairing defencemen, and captain, Mark Giordano made the list.
Let’s continue on with Calgary Flames players making lists! Last week, Johnny Gaudreau was ranked as the 10th best winger by NHL.com. Earlier this week, Sean Monahan just barely made the cut for the top 20 best centers. And now, Flames captain Mark Giordano has been ranked as the 18th best defenceman (along with defensive partner, Dougie Hamilton, who was ranked at 16th).
The 33-year-old captain of the Flames had 39 points (12 goals, 27 assists) in 81 games last season, following 2015-16 when he set NHL career highs with 21 goals and 56 points. In 11 seasons, Giordano has 340 points (99 goals, 241 assists) in 673 games. He played in the All-Star Game in 2015 and 2016 and was in the Norris Trophy race in 2014-15 with 11 goals and 48 points in 61 games before a biceps injury caused him to miss the remainder of the season. He won the NHL Foundation Player Award (commitment, perseverance and teamwork) in 2015-16 and was a finalist for the Mark Messier Leadership Award last season.
Actually, they missed an award! This year, Giordano also won ESPN’s Muhammad Ali award. The good guy awards just keep pouring in for the Calgary Flames captain.
Gio did have somewhat of an off-season compared to his last few, however basically every Flames player’s season started off slowly. Unfortunately for Gio, he didn’t find it as quickly as Dougie Hamilton was able to find it. But he was still second in Flames scoring among defencemen with 39 points and he contributed in other ways.
His +/- of +22 was the lead on the team and much higher than everyone else. Pretty decent for a guy on a team who had a negative goal differential for a good 5-6 months of the season. He’s also been a big leader for defensive-duo partner, Dougie Hamilton, who had a career-high season this past season. And Dougie credits Gio in helping him shape his season.
This upcoming season, a conversation surrounding the league is how the Calgary Flames contention window is now open. They’ve added players they needed to add. They got rid of a bit of dead-weight. And now, they’re one of the best improved teams during this off-season.
Their blue-line is also a topic surrounding the league. They have arguably one of the best top-four with Gio, Dougie, T.J. Brodie, and Travis Hamonic. And arguably, probably the best, all around defence core. Calgary is one of three teams to have more than one defenceman mentioned in this list, just by the way.
After the 2012-13 season when former Flames Captain Jarome Iginla was traded and Giordano took on the reigns, the Flames have made the playoffs twice in four years. And twice in three years, too. Before that, they hadn’t made it in six years.
And Mark Giordano definitely deserves to have his name on this list. If he can lead this team to two playoffs in three years, he may be able to lead them to the Stanley Cup Final.