I used to haaaate Mark Giordano. Despisal. Utter detestation. Ever since 2005 the undrafted star defender patrolled the blue line for the Calgary Flames against the lowly Edmonton Oilers, the team I backed in the intervening years between the folding of the Seattle Metropolitans and rise of the Seattle Kraken. It frustrated me that Edmonton’s southern Alberta rival was able to unearth such a gem of a player, and it seemed like he was always putting up points against my team. Giordano put up 37 points in 69 games against the Oilers, elite numbers for a defenseman and each one upset me just a little bit more than the last.
Beyond the scoring, he was always throwing hits throughout the years (hitting the 1,000 milestone there recently as well) on a range of Oilers players from Ales Hemsky in the mid-2000’s, all the way to current Oiler captain Connor McDavid. And while Edmonton wandered in the wilderness for a decade, Gio led the Flames to multiple playoff berths and captured both the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defender, and the Mark Messier Leadership Trophy along the way.
Sixteen years in the ugliest jersey in the National Hockey League came to an end on July 21st, 2021 when the Seattle Kraken selected Giordano with their 26th pick in the Expansion Draft. A consummate professional, the long-time Calgarian turned the page on his initial team without complaint about being left exposed in the draft, and accepted the difficult task of captaining an expansion club through its first season.
He showed us all he still has it, with 23 points and positive advanced stats, and as rumors swirl of a likely trade deadline departure, one can’t help but wonder if his former team may look to gain his services once again. I, for one, hope he goes elsewhere and gets the Stanley Cup ring missing from his trophy shelf, maybe even returning to Seattle for a farewell tour in 2022-23.
So I’ll admit it it Kraken fans: I’ve come around on Mark Giordano and I’m sorry to see him go. Whichever team gets him will add points to their scoresheet and leadership to their locker room, all of which improves their chance at a successful championship run.
Good luck out there Gio, it’s been swell.
Calle Järnkrok, however, is dead to me.