Despite their recent slide, the Calgary Flames are looking like Darryl Sutter’s improved team. They play a solid defensive style of hockey, with an offence flair. Jacob Markstrom, an early Vezina Trophy Candidate, is backing this.
The Seattle Kraken, on the other hand, have had a difficult time getting out of the gate. The one aspect of their game that was supposed to be their saving grace is now a failure. Mark Giordano, an expiring unrestricted-free agent (UFA), is a great leader and still very capable at the back-end. The Hockey News’ Matt Larkin suggests that Giordano could possibly be movedHe could be heading to Calgary so it is strange that they have named him captain. Teams will be lining up for him this season if Seattle doesn’t show any signs of competing in their first season. They have enough cap space to allow them to trade for another asset.
If their first-ever captain is lost, the Kraken can look to other leaders. We didn’t even know if he would be returning to the team after this season anyway. In terms of defence, it was a hot topic as many debated who would be making the team after training camp.
Names like Will Borgen or Jeremy Lauzon You would get more from a shotThey would be able then to play top-six and not have to fight for the seventh spot on the team’s defensive roster. This would be a good thing for the Kraken long-term, as it would allow them to give their youth more time and prepare them for life after Giordano.
Defense: What the Flames Need to Do
Erik Gudbranson and Nikita Zdorov could be part of the Kraken deal. Giordano doesn’t have to play the minutes he’s used to with other Flames’ defencemen stepping up in his absence and adjusting to the fact that he wasn’t playing for their team anymore.
The current roster has eight defensemen. This will need to change. If this deal happens, the Flames already know they will have to work the cap by having Seattle retain some of Giordano’s salary and maybe not having a full 23-man roster.
Juuso Valimaki has played seven games before being acquired by a defenseman who would surpass him in the depth charts. I expect the team would send him down to the American Hockey League. They always have next year where he can compete for full-time NHL hours.
Michael Stone is becoming more disposable than he is now. He has already dressed for one NHL game, is a UFA at season’s end, and is earning the NHL minimum $750k.
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Giordano could slot in on the second, or third pairing. The Flames are able to accommodate him. He would be a valuable addition to the team as a veteran player. He could play on the second pair with Chris Tanev, or swap Rasmus Andersson for Tanev. If the Flames don’t like that, they could always shore up their depth immensely and have Giordano play on the left side of the third pairing. They can make any move, Zadorov will play on both sides and Gudbranson will be a right defenceman.
Giordano Brings Calgary Experience and Familiarity
The Flames will be bringing back a loved player everyone missed and who was drafted in the expansion draft. They were able to sign two players to replace one of their caps, but they still feel they have a window of opportunity to be competitive.
Giordano, an undrafted agent who signed with Flames, played 14 seasons and was captain for eight. The Flames wouldn’t be reluctant to welcome back one of their greatest players.
He has played the second-most games in Flames’ franchise history with 949, ranks fifth in assists with 366, and seventh in points with 509. With 510 points, current Flame Johnny Gaudreau has just crossed the mark.
Giordano has a reputation as a great two way defenceman. This is evident by his seven 10-plus goals seasons and five 40+ point seasons. He also holds the franchise record for hits (1013) or blocked shots (1746). He hasn’t slowed down much this season on a team that has struggled so far, recording three goals, seven points, and over a block per game in 15 games with the Kraken.
We may see this deal go down a little closer to the trade deadline, but the Flames should definitely consider bringing back one of the franchise’s all-time greats for one last kick at the can. They have the talent and personnel to succeed at another level. The team has already proven they can win games.
Rob Couch is a THW freelance journalist covering the Edmonton Oilers & Philadelphia Flyers. He provides all the information you need about fantasy hockey. He will keep you informed about the Stat Corner, trade discussions and other news from the NHL.