The Flames announced Friday that Mark Giordano
has been signed to a contract extension through the 2015-16 season. The contract effectively begins next season and takes Giordano, who would have been a sought-after unrestricted free agent, off the market.
"To sign a player like this before the July 1 deadline for free agency was a top priority. And it has been identified as a top priority some time ago," said Flames assistant general manager Jay Feaster. "It's a good day for the organization."
The 27-year-old Giordano, undrafted in junior and passed over by the NHL scouts come draft time, has proven to be a diamond in the rough and steadily improved to become one of the better defencemen in the league.
The a native of Toronto, Ontario, is in his fourth season with the Calgary Flames who originally signed him as a free agent on July 6, 2004. In 205 career games, Giordano has 20 goals and 48 assists for 68 points and 193 penalty minutes.
Giordano hit career highs last season in games played (82), goals (11), assists (19) and points (30).
In 10 games this season he has three assists and is third in the NHL in blocked shots with 26.
Feaster sees a tremendous upside in Giordano.
"I don't think yet that anyone knows what his top end is," said Feaster. "This is a young guy who just keeps getting better. He was going to be a much sought-after player. Now that he has signed, he can blossom," said Feaster.
By locking up Giordano, the Flames now have three top-end defencemen secured over a long period. Robyn Regehr and Jay Bouwmeester
are also on long-term contracts.
"It gives us the big three," said Feaster.
Giordano said the decision for forego free-agency and sign with the team that gave him his NHL opportunity was not difficult.
"In the back of my mind I always felt there would be a deal in Calgary," said Giordano. "My first priority was to sign here. I didn't want to wait for next year. It's obviously easy for me. It was something that they felt, and I felt, was a good fit. I wanted to be part of this team and this city for a long time."
After signing with the Flames as a free agent in 2004 Giordano plugged away in the minors, playing in Lowell and Omaha of the AHL for two seasons while seeing some spot duty in the NHL. In 2006-07 he played 48 games for the Flames, registering 15 points. The next season he played in Russia but re-joined the Flames in 2008-09 and has been in the city ever since.
"It's a great group. Everyone cares, from the players on out. The fans are passionate. The city is great," said Giordano.