CALGARY, AB -- A long season leaves a shorter offseason for Brad Treliving, but the Calgary Flames general manager already has his ducks in a row.
Coaches meetings followed last Tuesday’s cleanout. Scouts, both amateur and professional, will trickle to Calgary for meetings.
You can’t win on the ice until you’ve got the right culture off the ice. He sets that for us, so he’s the priority. - Brad Treliving
But in terms of order, everything else comes second to re-signing captain Mark Giordano 13 months before the defenceman is set for unrestricted free agency.
“Mark Giordano is my No. 1 priority for this summer,” Treliving said in his press conference to close out the 2014-15 campaign. “By the regulations, the CBA, we cannot officially sign him until July 1st. I think everybody in this room knows what Mark means to this team both on and off the ice.
“On the ice, we all know. He’s a culture-setter for me. You can’t win on the ice until you’ve got the right culture off the ice. He sets that for us, so he’s the priority. We plan to get to work at it. We’ve done some preliminary work on it, but that’s one we hope to get wrapped up very, very quickly this summer.”
Giordano will enter the final season of a five-year, $20.1 million contract in October and is coming off a career-year that saw the 31-year-old record personal bests in assists (37) and points (48), despite playing in just 61 games after sustaining a season-ending torn biceps tendon in late February.
At the time, Giordano was considered to be the front-runner for the Norris Trophy.
And while a contract may top Treliving's list, getting healthy tops Giordano's.
The contract, he suggests, is no concern.
“As the next couple of weeks and the summer comes you probably start to think of stuff like that, and maybe in July it’ll come up, but right now, honestly, my No. 1 thing was I was hurt and I have to get better,” Giordano said. “You want to stick around and be here for a long time, hopefully the rest of my career. I’m sure [Treliving] and myself will have a discussion and talk about things. I want to stay here and I think the feeling is mutual and we want to get something done, but it’s still a long ways away from my contract expiring.
“We’ll see how it plays out.”
Fittingly, the captain is concerning himself more with continuing Calgary’s growth at this stage than worrying about building his next contract.
“I think for sure the message has to be that it was a great year, it was a fun year but I think after we take some time here we have to be aware that we better be ready for next year at camp and come in and push even harder than this year,” he said. “It's going to be different next year for sure. When we play against teams next year they're going to be ready for the Flames looking at us as a playoff team that went to the second round. Obviously there won't be any surprises, we're not going to surprise anyone and I think it's going to be that much harder to get back and we've got to be prepared for that.”
Before Giordano can prep for the push, he’ll first have to finish mending.
Giordano missed the final month-and-a-half of the regular season and was a sideline spectator as the Flames ousted the Vancouver Canucks in six games in the Western Conference First Round best-of-7 series.
He was also forced to watch as the Anaheim Ducks eliminated his team in five games in the second round. Had the Flames managed to push beyond the Ducks, there was a chance Giordano could’ve continued his season.
With the team out, he’ll continue to rehab, leaving little time to dwell on his contract situation.
“I’m just looking forward right now to getting home, getting some good rehab in and go from there,” Giordano said. “I know guys say it all the time but I think (the contract) will take care of itself.”