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Giordano can't wait to see Lucic in a Flames jersey: "It will be nice to have him on our side of the ice now."

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson /

Mark Giordano has vivid memories of going head-to-head with Milan Lucic.

"Definitely physical," the captain noted as he reflected on his years facing off against the hulking left-winger.

"You're always aware of where he is when you're out there against him. To be honest, he's gotten me a couple times in my career with some big hits.

"He's a presence out there.

"He's a guy, that when you play against him, you know where he's at all times. And he's a guy that can get to the front of the net and make things happen too.

"He plays the game hard and he plays it the right way."

On Friday afternoon, the Flames acquired the veteran forward in a trade with their neighbours to the north, sending James Neal to Edmonton in the swap. 

Lucic, who signed a seven-year contract with the Oilers in the summer of 2016, has 198 goals, 303 assists, 501 points, and 1072 PIM in 890 career games. His resume is littered with playoff runs, with 28 goals and 70 points in 114 postseason skates, and includes Stanley Cup win as a member of the Boston Bruins in 2012. 

Last year, the Vancouver native registered 20 points in 79 games and he led all skaters with 35+ games in Edmonton with a 50.75 Corsi-For percentage. He also doled out 259 hits, leading his club in that regard as well.

"Playing against him, you know he's a really fierce competitor. He's a good leader, too, a guy who has won, who has been there and done it before," Giordano explained. "Everyone around the league knows how tough he is and that grittiness he can bring into your lineup. 

"He's a guy that a lot of the players in the league, including myself, respect and I think he's going to be a nice fit into our team. It will be nice to have him on our side of the ice now."



The rivalry between Calgary and Edmonton has heated back up in recent years, with Lucic bringing some of that edge to the table when he signed with the Oilers. This trade could add another dimension to the Battle of Alberta, which officially kicks off on Dec. 27 when the Flames make the three-hour trek north to pay a visit to Rogers Arena.

"It's going to keep picking up," Giordano predicted. "There's going to be a lot of emotion, a lot of physical play in the games.

"We haven't seen trades too often between us and Edmonton so I'm sure guys on both sides are going to want to have big nights against their old teams. It's going to add to the rivalry.

Another layer that will be added to the rivalry is the goaltending swap. On July 1, the Flames inked Cam Talbot to a one-year deal while the Oilers signed Mike Smith to a one-year pact.

"It's always bittersweet when you see guys switching sides, leaving your team. Nealer and Smitty were good buddies but Milan and Cam coming in, they're going to provide a spark. They're going to feel reenergized, looking for a fresh start.

"It's going to good for them and I'm looking really looking forward to having them on our team.

"And the Battle of Alberta."

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