CALGARY, AB -- Entering the final year of his contract, Mark Giordano didn’t want the distraction. The Calgary Flames preferred to avoid it, too.
So the two sides came together on a six-year contract extension less than a year before his current contract was set to expire, and well before the start of the 2015-16 season.
“For myself individually, that’s a situation I wouldn’t have wanted to be in, trying to go through the season and negotiating a contract,” Giordano said. “On both sides, I think for the organization as well and more importantly for the team, as the captain of the team you don’t ever want that stuff to be a distraction and I think we came to an agreement that obviously works for both sides.”
Flames general manager Brad Treliving vouched from the Flames end.
“In our market we know it would be a story, so to not have that distraction around our team is important,” Treliving said. “At the same token, you don’t do it just to get rid of the distraction. You’ve got to make sure it makes sense and all the rest of it. No question, the benefit of that is not having to answer that question. It allows us to focus on what’s important, that’s the games, and preparing and playing them.”
When Giordano’s extension begins in 2016-17, he’ll be 33.
Having that security with the only National Hockey League franchise he’s known was big for the Giordano clan, he admitted.
“A big part of going through the process this summer and getting the new contract, you want to take care of your family and have that stability and I think more importantly, getting the six-year term, hopefully we can stay here for a long period of time and keep building on those relationships in the community,” Giordano said.
“Honestly, I owe the organization a lot. They’ve put a lot of faith in me for my whole career. I’ve been here my entire NHL career. For people around the organization to put that belief in you, you have to go out there and earn it. I’m confident that I’ll be able to do that, for sure.”
He’s done that with his current contract, a five-year deal that has seen Giordano emerge into one of the top defencemen in the NHL.
At the time of a season-ending torn biceps tendon in late February, Giordano’s 48 points not only tied him for the team lead, but also tied for first among NHL defencemen. He also had 11 goals, a plus-13 rating and averaged 25:10 of ice time per game.
Despite missing the final 21 games of the regular season, Giordano still finished sixth in Norris Trophy voting, including one first-place vote, six second-place votes and 11 third-place votes.
In 2013-14, Giordano finished 10th in Norris voting, too, after recording 14 goals and 47 points in 64 games played.
“I said coming in here I was always a fan of Mark,” said Treliving, hired as the Flames’ GM in April 2014. “I’ve said it many times. You get a knowledge of people from the outside view. You get an appreciation of people when you’re working with them every day. Being around him on a daily basis and knowing what he means to us, the character, the leadership, I’ve said before, he’s the soul of this team.
“It’s a proud day for us when we were able to get things done.”
The progression, and contract extension, caps a long ride for Giordano, who went undrafted after spending two seasons with the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League, and signed as a 20-year-old unrestricted free agent with the Flames in 2004.
“That was the last conversation I had with a lot of family members and my agent before I signed the deal,” Giordano said. “You sit back and if you’d have told me 10 years ago I’d be where I am today, we were probably laughing at each other. It’s been a quick ride, but a fun ride and I feel like now with this contract in place I have a lot more years left here in Calgary and can really accomplish something great.”