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Giordano may not be protected by Flames in Expansion Draft

Gaudreau says he wants to stay in Calgary

by Aaron Vickers / Independent Correspondent

Mark Giordano may not be protected by the Calgary Flames in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.

The defenseman and Flames captain has one season remaining on a six-year contract at an average annual value of $6.75 million.

The expansion draft is scheduled for July 21, when the Seattle Kraken will fill out their roster ahead of their first NHL season in 2021-22.

"Everybody knows there's an expansion draft coming up, and he and I have spoken about that," Flames general manager Brad Treliving said Thursday. "We'll keep that internal for now. But we'll make decisions like everybody else has to make.

"As far as 'Gio,' he's been, in my mind, the conscience of this team for a long time, since I've been here. He sets the tone for the group on and off the ice. I've had the good fortune to be around good leaders in my career and I put him at the top of the list. But there is a business side of this, and we'll sit down as a group and make some decisions as we get closer to the expansion draft."

The Flames (26-27-3) finished fifth in the Scotia North Division and did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Giordano, who turns 38 on Oct. 3, led Flames skaters in ice time at 22:57 per game, and led Calgary defensemen in goals (nine), assists (17) and points (26).

He has scored 509 points (143 goals, 366 assists) in 949 games in 15 seasons with the Flames. He won the Norris Trophy voted as the best defenseman in the NHL in 2019. 

"I talked to 'Tre' a little bit today in my exit meeting with him," Giordano said. "I guess we'll circle back in the next couple weeks on that. I mean, for me it's pretty obvious as a player there's going to be certain situations that we're going to have to talk about. As far as personally, I've been here my whole career and I love it here, so obviously I want to still be here next year."

The Kraken will select one player from each NHL team, excluding the Vegas Golden Knights, for a total of 30 (14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies).

Teams can protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goalie. Teams will have their protection lists finalized by July 17. 

Calgary could opt to protect defensemen Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson, each 24, and Christopher Tanev, a 31-year-old who signed a four-year, $18 million contract with Calgary on Sept. 29, 2020, leaving Giordano exposed to Seattle. 

"Not to get into it too much, but I have a pretty good relationship with Tre where we'll talk about it I'm sure over the next little bit," Giordano said. 

"There are certain situations where you have to be an adult about it and know there are certain things that have to happen. I mean, that's all I'm really going to say about it, but I think me and Tre have a good enough relationship where we'll have some good conversations, for sure."

Forward Milan Lucic reportedly is willing to waive his no-move clause and allow Calgary to expose him to the expansion draft. The 32-year-old has two seasons remaining on a seven-year contract he signed July 1, 2016.

Forward Johnny Gaudreau, who can become a free agent after next season, said he wants to stay with the Flames and would be willing to discuss an extension prior to playing the final season of his contract. 

"If it's something that comes up this summer, it's something that I'd be very willing to do and try to get done," Gaudreau said.

The 27-year-old scored 49 points (19 goals, 30 assists) in 56 games this season. Since his first full season (2014-15), his 0.95 points per game are sixth in the NHL among players to play at least 500 games.

"If Tre and the owners are happy with the way I've played here in the past six, seven years and it's something we can figure out this upcoming summer, I would love to do that," Gaudreau said. "I love the city of Calgary. I love playing here. I don't think I've ever once said I haven't wanted to be here. The guys in the locker room are great in there and I've always enjoyed my time here."

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