In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, former team captain Mark Giordano opened up about being selected by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. To minimize the loss to their blue line, general manager Brad Treliving worked out deals with Nikita Zadorov and Juuso Valimaki. To cap things off, after throwing the first pitch at Fenway Park two weeks ago, Flames assistant general manager Chris Snow was invited back to the ballpark by superstar pitcher Chris Sale, who was inspired by Snow’s story.
Giordano Excited for New Opportunity
Throughout the 2020-21 season, Flames fans heard whispers about Giordano’s future with the club. As the Kraken’s expansion draft approached, it became more and more evident that Calgary might lose the 2018-19 Norris Trophy winner, as they had younger defencemen who needed to be protected, like Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, and Chris Tanev. And while the 37-year-old made it clear he is very excited about the change, there is plenty he will miss about Calgary.
“Just the city generally and the people,” Giordano said to Hailey Salvian and Ian Mendes of The Athletic. “You know, going out and seeing people in the restaurants that I know. And obviously, the No. 1 thing is going to be the guys, starting with the players and some of my best friends that I’ve made over the years. But then I think of the staff too, and the trainers, and the equipment guys, the medical guys that I’ve been with for a large chunk of my career.
So, those are friendships that are gonna last a lifetime. It’s gonna be different not going to the rink every day and seeing those guys, but I’m sure I’ll create some great bonds here in Seattle, too” (from ‘Hailey Salvian: Mark Giordano on his ‘emotional’ departure from the Flames and having ‘a lot to offer’ the Kraken’, The Athletic – 08/16/21).
Giordano has played all 949 games of his NHL career with the Flames, scoring 143 goals and 509 points. He also served as the team’s captain since the 2013-14 season. Despite his age, he is still a very good player and should easily live up to his $6.75 million cap hit in Seattle.
Zadorov and Valimaki Re-Upped
The Flames made two big signings last week. First, they signed Zadorov to a one-year, $3.75 million deal. The 26-year-old was acquired on the opening day of free agency from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a third-round pick at the 2022 Draft. In 55 games last season, he recorded a goal and eight points while averaging just under 20 minutes of ice time per game.
Just a short time later, the Flames announced they had re-upped another restricted free agent defenceman, Juuso Valimaki. The 22-year-old agreed to a two-year, $3.1 million deal with an AAV of $1.55 million. He had two goals and 11 points in 49 games last season and should be poised for a breakout campaign in 2021-22.
Chris Sale a Big Fan of Chris Snow
On Aug. 12, the Snow family received a huge honor when Flames assistant general manager Chris Snow was invited to throw the first pitch at the Boston Red Sox game. Snow was diagnosed with ALS over two years ago, yet he continues to defy the odds and has become a massive inspiration in the hockey world, which now includes the baseball community as well.
Two days ago, Snow tweeted out that Sale, a seven-time All-Star, reached out to him and invited him and his family back to the ballpark. “I just wanted to meet to say thank you,” Sale told Snow and his family. “You are literally changing the world. I just pitch. Do you mind if we get a picture? I’m going to send it to my mom. She is going to freak.”
Sale lost his grandmother to ALS when he was just six years old, so Snow’s story hit close to home for him and his family. It’s incredible how much awareness Snow has been able to raise about ALS, and even more amazing to see how strong he continues to be each and every day.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Oil On Whyte, NHLtradetalk.com, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.