NHL Trade Deadline Primer: Mark Giordano is still an impact player
The 2022 NHL Trade Deadline is Monday, March 21 at 3 p.m. ET. As we get closer to the deadline we will take a look at some individual players who could be on the move. We continue today with Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano.
The Seattle Kraken’s inaugural season has not been the success many hoped it would be following the Vegas Golden Knights debut five years ago. While nobody should have expected the Kraken to reach the Stanley Cup Final this season, there was at least an expectation that they could have maybe competed for a playoff spot in the Pacific Division, or at least been somewhat competitive.
As we get closer to the NHL trade deadline and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Kraken have one of the league’s worst records and have really been undone by goaltending that has been a significant disappointment.
That does not mean there have not been some bright spots on the roster, and some players that could bring a nice return at the NHL trade deadline. Veteran defenseman Mark Giordano is at the top of that list.
After being made available to Seattle in the expansion draft, Giordano has proven that he can still be a quality top-pairing defenseman even at age 38 as his career starts to wind down. He may not be as impactful offensively as he was during his peak, but a lot of his defensive metrics still rate favorably among NHL defenders.
What the return might look like
If the Montreal Canadiens think they can pry a first-round pick away from some team for Ben Chiarot (and they probably will!) then the Kraken should be able to get that and more away from somebody for Giordano. Maybe not a top-top prospect, but a first-round pick and a solid prospect seems like something that could be realistic. Complicating things is the fact Giordano has a limited no-trade clause and can at least in part dictate where he goes, as well as the fact that he carries a pretty significant salary cap hit. Seattle retaining salary could also help on the return.
The most logical landing spots
• Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers
The Maple Leafs could probably use an upgrade on defense, especially with the recent injury to Jake Muzzin. Giordano would be an expensive rental, but if you are going to go all in for an expensive rental Giordano would be a better option than, say, Ben Chiarot.
St. Louis and New York are two contenders that could definitely use an upgrade on the blue line and Giordano would be an outstanding fit for either team. The Rangers have a lot going for them at the top of their lineup but could really use some additional depth beyond their top-six forwards and their top defenders. The Blues, typically a strong defensive team in recent years, have suddenly transitioned into an offensive team that is thin on defense and could absolutely use an upgrade. Both the Blues and Rangers rank among the bottom-10 teams in the league in expected goals against during 5-on-5 play (via Natural Stat Trick). Giordano can help in that area.
Wild Card team: Calgary Flames
This would be pretty awesome for everybody, right? The Flames do not really need a defensive upgrade (they are already really good there) but Giordano going back to the team where he spent his entire career to this season would be perfect. Especially now that the Flames have emerged as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender in the Pacific Division and Western Conference. Getting him back in Calgary would make an already strong defensive team even better.
Spot I want to see just for fun: Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers need a defensive upgrade and Giordano would not only be an upgrade, but having him on the other side of the Battle of Alberta, and especially in a potential playoff matchup, would be fun to watch. Will it happen? Almost certainly not. Fun to think about though.
NHL Trade Deadline prediction
You know what? The Calgary Flames. They find a way to bring him back. They already traded their first-round pick this season for Tyler Toffoli, but they do have two second-round picks and could dip into their farm system and come up with some package to make a serious run. With Toffoli and Giordano added to an already strong defensive team with great goaltending and a couple of star forwards at the top of the lineup they could make a major run.