Mark Giordano's path to NHL stardom can be seen as either the blueprint for all fledgling professional defensemen or the envy of everyone who is or once was in his shoes.
Giordano, now a Norris Trophy candidate and an all-star, started as an undrafted defenseman out of the Ontario Hockey League and spent a year playing professionally in Russia. He has been a full-time NHL player since the 2008-09 season. He was a first-time all-star this season.
Along the way Giordano has figured things out about himself, his game, and about what makes the great ones in the NHL great. He has learned to play a two-way game without sacrificing what he does best, which is join the rush and provide offense. He has become a leader.