Calgary general manager Brad Treliving said at the outset of the offseason that getting the team’s captain, defenceman Mark Giordano, signed to an extension was the club’s top priority before the 2015-16 season gets underway.
Tuesday, the team announced that they’re reached a six-year deal, $40.5M USD deal with the 31-year-old Giordano.
The Flames were one of the surprise teams of 2014-15, reaching the second round of the playoffs before getting bounced in five games by the Anaheim Ducks. Giordano was a huge part of the team’s success through the first three quarters of the season, registering 48 points in 61 games before being lost for the remainder of the year after suffering a torn biceps in late February.
At the time, Giordano was the frontrunner to take home the Norris Trophy, which recognizes the top defencemen in the NHL each season. Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators took home the award for the second time in four seasons, beating out P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings.
Coming off last year’s performance, more will be expected of the Flames this season and getting Giordano’s extension out of the way before training camp begins means the club and its players won’t have to spend the next several months fielding questions about whether or not a deal is going to get done.
It also ensures that a player who has become the leader of a relatively young team on the rise will remain on the blue line for the foreseeable future, as the length and term of Giordano’s new deal are both extremely reasonable for a team that will have several key young players looking for new deals and extensions of their own in the coming years.
Calgary was already one of the top defensive clubs in the league last season and added to that area of strength this offseason with the acquisition of 22-year-old Dougie Hamilton from the Boston Bruins. The former OHL standout is coming off his best season (10-32-42 in 72 games) and projects as a future Norris Trophy candidate and joins a core that includes Giordano, Calder Trophy finalist Johnny Gaudreau and 20-year-old Sean Monahan, who has tallied 53 goals in his first two seasons.
Locking up Giordano and taking advantage of Boston’s desire to move out Hamilton, who inked six-year, $34.5M USD contract after arriving in Calgary, continues the history of sound moves this club has made in recent years, as was discussed during when the Flames were featured in the How Did We Get Here? series last season.
Calgary has done well to supplement the young talent they’ve developed internally with key acquisitions over the last couple years, drafting the likes of Monahan, Gaudreau and fellow forwards Sam Bennett and Morgan Klimchuk, both of whom could earn regular spots with the big club this coming season, while signing players like Jiri Hudler, who has led the team in scoring each of the last two seasons, and veteran defenseman Dennis Wideman to solid deals.
The competition in the Western Conference is tough, but the Flames made surprising progress last season and are a good bet to build on that success in the year ahead, especially now that they’ve ensured their captain will remain in the fold for the next four years.