Meet the Seattle Kraken: Defenseman Mark Giordano

In anticipation of the Seattle Kraken‘s inaugural season, we at The Hockey Writers will be doing a deep dive on each player. This installment of the series focuses on defenseman Mark Giordano, who the Kraken selected from the Calgary Flames.

Mark Giordano

Age: 37
Position: Defense
2020-21 Team: Calgary Flames
2020-21 Season: Giordano remained a workhorse on the Calgary blue line, averaging 22:51 minutes a game to lead the Flames. He put up nine goals and 26 points in 56 games to lead all Calgary defensemen, and also led the team with 110 blocked shots. Despite having weaker scoring totals by his standards, Giordano remained a strong defensive player, as has been the case throughout his career. He served as Flames captain for the eighth consecutive season.
Type of Acquisition: Giordano was selected by the Seattle Kraken during the expansion draft.

Giordano’s Pre-Kraken Career

Giordano spent two seasons with the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Owen Sound Attack, but went undrafted in the NHL Entry Draft. Following the conclusion of his junior career, he planned to study business at York University before receiving a training camp invitation from the Flames. His performance earned him a contract, and he began his professional career with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Lowell Lock Monsters in the 2004-05 season.

After a strong showing at the beginning of the 2005-06 season, Giordano was called up to play his first seven NHL games in January 2006. He played the majority of the following season in the NHL, managing seven goals and 15 points in 48 games. However, he failed to come to terms with the Flames on a contract in the offseason, and instead signed a one-year deal with HC Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Super League.

Mark Giordano Calgary Flames
Mark Giordano, former Calgary Flame (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In the summer of 2008, Giordano returned to Calgary on a three-year contract during which he established himself as a high-end NHL defenseman. In 2010, he re-signed with the Flames on a five-year extension worth $20 million. Prior to the start of the 2013-14 season, he was named the 19th captain in Flames history, succeeding Jarome Iginla.

Giordano continued to improve, cementing himself as one of the league’s top defenseman and earning a six-year contract extension in 2015 with an average annual value (AAV) of $6.75 million. There is one year remaining on the contract. In 2018-19, he scored 74 points in 78 games and won the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman.

Following two more productive seasons, albeit with significantly lower point totals, Giordano was selected by the Kraken in the expansion draft.

Giordano’s Kraken Expectations

Giordano will immediately slot in on Seattle’s top defense pair. Though he is declining, he remains a productive player who is capable of playing tough minutes and providing a scoring touch from the back end. He will also likely find a spot as the quarterback on one of the Kraken’s power-play units.

Calgary Flames Mark Giordano
Mark Giordano (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

If the Kraken select a leadership group for their inaugural season, Giordano is a strong candidate for the captaincy. The short term remaining on his contract may be of concern in that regard, but Giordano will almost certainly be an alternate captain at the very least.

Was Selecting Giordano a Hit or a Miss?

Giordano was the right pick by Kraken general manager Ron Francis. Although he is 37 years old and making a significant chunk of money, he will be one of the top players for Seattle, and he only has one year remaining on his deal. This selection was low-risk and high-reward in that there is no long-term commitment for a player that will play a huge role on the team from the get-go.