He was great. Lowell’s best defenceman. He was tough. He could rush the puck. He could do everything. I watched him and I thought he was great. - Bruce Boudreau
CALGARY, AB -- Few predicted the meteoric rise in the development of Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano. Count Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau as one who did.
From a mile away, too.
As coach of the Los Angeles Kings AHL affiliate Manchester Monarchs in 2004-05, Boudreau coached against a then-AHL rookie Giordano playing his first pro hockey with the Lowell Lock Monsters. The stardom was clear for Boudreau.
“I thought in Lowell he was their best defenceman in his first year,” Boudreau said a day prior to watching Giordano’s Flames beat the Ducks 4-3 in a shootout at Scotiabank Saddledome. “I kept telling the Kings to go get this guy. Obviously I’m not a scout. He was great. Lowell’s best defenceman. He was tough. He could rush the puck. He could do everything.
“I watched him and I thought he was great.”
Signed by the Flames after going undrafted through two seasons with the Ontario Hockey League’s Owen Sound Attack, Giordano quickly graduated to professional hockey.
In his first season with Lowell, Giordano recorded six goals and 16 points in 66 games. The offensive totals were complimented by 86 minutes in penalties and a plus-13 rating.
Fast forward a decade and the now 31-year-old Flames captain leads the National Hockey League in points by a blueliner and sits seventh overall. Heading into action against Boudreau’s Ducks on Tuesday, Giordano has six goals and 21 points. Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks is next with 17.
“Now, you know what, it takes a while for a defenceman to reach the zenith of his game,” Boudreau said. “I’ve been told you don’t even become an NHL defenceman until you’ve played 300 games. He’s played a lot more than that, but he’s been everything to Calgary and more.
“A great get.”