Mark Giordano is having a career year for the Calgary Flames this season, nearly surpassing last seasons point total already and getting it done on the powerplay and penalty kill. So, where does he stand in the Norris Trophy talk and does he have a legitimate shot?
The Calgary Flames have never had a Norris Trophy winner in their franchise history. The Flames have not had a finalist for the Norris Trophy since Dion Phaneuf lost it to Nick Lidstrom back in 2008. Many Flames fans, including myself, felt that Dougie Hamilton should have been a finalist last season, but the voters felt otherwise. So, let’s take a look at how captain Gio stacks up against the other defensemen in the league currently.
Anybody who has watched the Calgary Flames this year knows what a valuable player Mark Giordano is to this team. When he is playing well, the whole team seems to play well. Giordano being paired with TJ Brodie again this year has paid huge dividends for both players and this team. I wrote about how their play is impacted when they play together before the season started, which you can read here. The fact that Mark Giordano is doing all of this at 35 years old is a testament to his work ethic and conditioning.
Looking at the league leaders in points and you will find Gio sitting in a tie for first with 35, as of this writing. Morgan Reilly (Toronto), John Carlson (Washington), and rookie sensation Thomas Chabot (Ottawa) also have 35 points. What is even more impressive to me is when you look at the defensive points per game leaders, per nhl.com.
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- John Carlson – 1.13 points per game
- Mark Giordano – 1.09 points per game
- Morgan Reilly – 1.06 points per game
- Thomas Chabot – 1.03 points per game
- Brent Burns – 0.94 points per game
As you can see, Mark Giordano sits alone at second in the NHL in points per game. I found this to be even more impressive when you take into account that Carlson has four more powerplay points than Giordano. This shows how well of a five on five player the Flames captain has been.
Obviously, points are not the only thing that should be considered when you are talking about the Norris Trophy. Mark Giordano and John Carlson are tied for the league lead in +/- as well, at a +21 each. Giordano also leads all NHL defensemen in shorthanded points and is tied with Esa Lindell (Dallas) in shorthanded goals.
There is absolutely zero doubt in my mind that if the season ended today, Mark Giordano SHOULD be a finalist for the Norris. Whether or not he should win is certainly up for debate and will probably depend on the Calgary Flames success the rest of the way. The problem is that the NHL and their voters seem to always go for the big names in their voting rather than the actual numbers. When you look at the odds for who could win, names like Drew Doughty, Brent Burns and John Carlson are up there.
You have to question why Giordano, Chabot, and Reilly are not considered. You would think at least one of these players would be there. This further proves how the award seems to go to the biggest names rather than the most deserving. We can only hope that this trend changes this season.
Mark Giordano is having the best year of his career and has arguably been the best defenseman in the NHL this season. He certainly deserves to be in the Norris Trophy conversation and with his continued high level of play throughout the season, has a legitimate shot of becoming the first Calgary Flames player to ever win the award.