What now for Mark Giordano and the Calgary Flames?
There has been an elephant in the room in the Calgary Flames hockey market for quite some time, and with the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft set to take place in mere days, fans may have to make peace with the fact that Mark Giordano has played his last games as a Flame.
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The Seattle Expansion Draft Protected Lists went public on Sunday morning, and the Flames confirmed that Giordano will be among the list of players they are leaving exposed for the Seattle Kraken to choose from.
The thing with Calgary this offseason is a different rumour seems to surface every week regarding player moves. At the end of the season, Sean Monahan was in trade talks, then Johnny Gaudreau and, most recently, Matthew Tkachuk. What has stayed consistent, however, is that Giordano is a veteran defenseman that is not getting any younger and the rumours of his departure have not really died down.
What next for Mark Giordano and the Calgary Flames ahead of 2021 Expansion Draft
His $6.75M cap hit for the 2021-22 season is also significant enough to be worth looking into what the return could be for a trade, or what the cap space could be used for if he is selected in the Expansion Draft.
Leading up to the Protected List deadline, NHL insiders reported that Flames GM Brad Treliving was doing the work behind the scenes trying to make some moves with the roster being, “completely unsettled.”
This ended up being all talk as the announcement of the team’s Protected List really came as no shock to Flames fans or anyone familiar to the team. Whatever moves Treliving tried to make either were not appealing enough to land on a deal, or came at too high of a cost to the core roster.
Calgary opted to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender going into Wednesday’s Expansion Draft. Here is who is protected:
- Johnny Gaudreau (F)
- Matthew Tkachuk (F)
- Sean Monahan (F)
- Elias Lindholm (F)
- Mikael Backlund (F)
- Dillon Dube (F)
- Andrew Mangiapane (F)
- Chris Tanev (D)
- Noah Hanifin (D)
- Rasmus Andersson (D)
- Jacob Markstrom (G)
The theme of the Flames selections being, by losing the past, you protect the future. If they do not go into rebuild mode and want to keep a young core of players, they had to give up some significant names to avoid turning their future into a division rival. However, Giordano may not be the only name the Kraken should be scouting in the next few days with other intriguing names available to them.
Here are the players eligible for selection for the Seattle Kraken:
Mark Giordano, Michael Stone, Oliver Kylington, Nikita Nesterov, Alex Petrovic, Milan Lucic, Derek Ryan Josh Leivo, Matthew Phillips, Byron Froese, Glenn Gawdin, Zac Rinaldo, Justin Kirkland, Brett Ritchie, Buddy Robinson, Dominik Simon, Tyler Parsons and Louis Domingue.
The biggest names that stick out being Giordano and Milan Lucic. Lucic agreed to waive his no-movement clause back in May to create some breathing room for the Flames, but it likely won’t be enough to prevent Calgary from losing their Captain and premier defenseman.
At the end of season meetings with the media in May, Giordano was asked about his thoughts about the Expansion Draft and what it means for him. He mentioned when he was on the ice, it was not a thought that was on his mind and when it came to closing thoughts on the topic he said:
“As far as personally, I’ve been here my whole career and I love it here. So obviously I still want to be here next year.”
Giordano has been a Flame for 16 years and was about a season away from playing 1,000 games with the organization. If his name is called on Wednesday by the Kraken, not only will it be an emotional goodbye for the fans, but it will also be quite the eye adjustment to see him in a jersey not affiliated to Calgary.
As far as who may take up the mantel of Captain for the Flames next season if Giordano is no longer in the locker room? Chris Tanev and Matthew Tkachuk have been mentioned in the conversation, but that may be more of a “let’s cross that bridge when we get to it,” type of conversation.