Maple Leafs Should Make Giordano More Than a Playoff Rental

Prior to the trade deadline, Kyle Dubas had expressed his desire to acquire a player or players who were not just a rental. He felt more comfortable giving up assets for players who could be with the Maple Leafs beyond this season.

Related: Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jim Paliafito: A Valuable, Little Known Employee

As it was, both Mark Giordano and Colin Blackwell – the players Dubas picked up from the Seattle Kraken – are both on expiring contracts and could be considered to be rentals. However, if we look a little deeper, we can see where both players could easily be Maple Leafs beyond this season.

Mark Giordano Has Always Been a Productive Offensive Player

Mark Giordano is 38 years old, a Toronto native, and grew up a Maple Leafs’ fan. He recently played his one-thousandth game in the NHL. Despite his age, he’s still playing the game at a high level.

Mark Giordano Seattle Kraken
Mark Giordano, was brought over from the Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

If we look at his recent production, he scored 74 points during the 2018-19 season when he won the Norris Trophy. At the age of 36, that was indeed an exceptional season. However, it was more of an outlier for Giordano.  

Explore everything hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia pages.

The Hockey Writers HockeyPedia 800x120

His previous best offensive season was 2015-16 when he scored 56 points. If we look at his offensive production for the two seasons prior to 2018-19 and the three seasons after, his point-per-game pace each season was for 2016-17 (0.48), 2017-18 (0.46), 2019-20 (0.52), 2020-21 (0.46), and 2021-22 (0.42.). He hasn’t lost a step offensively.

Related: The Gordie Howe Hat Trick

It makes sense that there would be some degradation to his game due to his age and the mileage on his body. The Calgary Flames obviously thought so when they failed to protect him in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft.

While he was a highly physical player in his younger years, once registering 151 hits in a season, he has toned that part down as he’s aged. In the past four seasons, his highest hit total he has had is 58 and his lowest 42. He’s always been an excellent shot-blocker with close to 1,900 blocked shots in his career.  

Giordano Is Nearing the End of His Career

Despite still playing the game at a high level, Giordano has to know that, being a year and a half away from the age of 40 (his birthday is October 3), his skills will likely begin to decline. He’s earned over $63 million in his 16 year NHL career, but (like Jason Spezza) he’s never won a Stanley Cup. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that at this point in his career Giordano would value winning the Stanley Cup over how much money per season he earns. 

If the Maple Leafs do take a step in the right direction and do go deep into the playoffs, it makes sense that Giordano might want to remain with the team beyond this season. If they do happen to win the cup this season, he might like the idea of winning more than one. 

Obviously, Giordano is an intelligent player. He knows the ropes and understands the Maple Leafs’ salary-cap situation. He might be willing to play for significantly less money than he presently make beyond this season.  

Related: Pavel Bure – A Tribute to the Russian Rocket

We feel the chances are pretty good that Giordano could still be a Toronto Maple Leafs’ player next season.

Keeping Colin Blackwell Around for Another Season

As we recently wrote, Colin Blackwell appears to be a late bloomer. At the age of 28, he’s playing the best hockey of his career. In fact, he scored seven points during his last eight games for the Seattle Kraken prior to being traded to the Maple Leafs. 

Colin Blackwell Toronto Maple Leafs
Colin Blackwell, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Despite being only 5-foot-9, Blackwell is a solid 190 pounds and has recorded 155 hits in his 119 NHL games. He’s only making $725,000 on his present contract. While he might be due a small raise in his next deal, we don’t expect it to be a significant one.

Related: Recalling Maple Leafs History: Retro Uniforms, Rick Vaive & Harold Ballard

If Blackwell works out well with the Maple Leafs for the remainder of this season, we could easily see him signing for one or two more years at not much more than the NHL league minimum.  

It is reasonable to consider that both these players could be more than just rentals for the Maple Leafs.

[Note: I want to thank long-time Maple Leafs’ fan Stan Smith for collaborating with me on this post. Stan’s Facebook profile can be found here.]

Latest News & Highlights