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Giordano garnering Norris buzz

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames
The easiest way that I can put it is there’s not too many defencemen in this league right now that I would recommend to Brian Burke that we go and get and trade Mark Giordano forBob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- Mark Giordano will be the first to jump into a rush. He’ll be the first to stand up in the dressing room.

He’s the last to sign his own praises, though.

With the 2013-14 campaign he’s pieced together, more than a few are willing to campaign for some Norris Trophy consideration on behalf of the Calgary Flames defenceman.

But he’s not necessarily one of them.

“I definitely think I can play with the guys in that bracket, for sure,” Giordano said. “But I think it’s also a pretty big group. I think people don’t give some guys as much credit as they deserve and I think you look around the league, the top defencemen on most teams are really good players.”

It’s the modesty all in the Calgary media circle have come to know from the 31-year-old, a Flames captain willing and seemingly eager to always include others in his own personal success, teammate or otherwise.

But the numbers stand for themselves.

With just 10 games remaining on the docket for Flames, Giordano finds himself among elite company on the blue line. He’s ninth in goals among blueliners with a career-high 12. He sits 11th in scoring amongst rearguards with 43 points -- matching a personal best.

He’s managed to put himself in top-10 consideration in both categories despite missing 18 games earlier this year with a broken ankle. As such, only Erik Karlsson’s near point-per-game pace tops Giordano’s 0.80.

“Numbers are funny,” Giordano said. “Some years, things go really well for you in certain areas and not so well in others and it flip-flops from year-to-year. I do consider myself a guy who can play with those top players but I think it’s a pretty big group.”

As impressive as his offensive numbers have been, the work in his own end is equally telling.

The top-pairing defender averages 25:13 of ice per game and routinely skates against the opposition’s top line.

Though his plus-11 rating doesn’t strike as imposing next to the likes of the plus-23 of Duncan Keith or Alex Pietrangelo’s plus-22, it becomes all the more impressive in light of the fact that Calgary sits minus-28 in goal differential.

“As a player, confidence is No. 1,” Giordano said. “I’m in a good situation where I’ve been getting a lot of opportunity here to play in pretty much any situation. Any player will tell you if you know you’re going to be put in those key roles and if you know if you make a mistake you are going back out there, it’s a huge thing for a player, for sure.”

It’s not hard to see a Norris case for the 6-foot, 200-pounder.

On the ice, Giordano’s numbers are elite. Off the ice, few can deny the role he’s played on Calgary’s rebuilding club.

In other words, his body of work for the Flames has him near irreplaceable for coach Bob Hartley.

“The easiest way that I can put it is there’s not too many defencemen in this league right now that I would recommend to Brian Burke that we go and get and trade Mark Giordano for,” Hartley said. “That’s the easiest way I can put it.

“The way Gio has blossomed, every year, every year but it seems this year he’s getting the recognition. The player’s great. The unfortunate part from maybe the fans side is they don’t have the chance to see him and talk to him on the street every day. This guy is an unbelievable player. He’s a better person.”

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