The Calgary Flames have re-signed defenseman and team captain Mark Giordano to a six-year, $40.5 million contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giordano’s new contract counts as $6.75 million annually against the Flames’ salary cap starting in 2016-17. He’s currently entering the final season of a five-year deal worth just over $4 million annually, so it’s a significant raise for the 31-year-old defenseman. No word yet if there’s any variance in actual salary over the course of the deal. It was rumored the Giordano camp initially sought over $9 million annually.
**Update** As per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Giordano’s contract contains a full no-trade clause up to 2019-20, after which submits a 10-team no-trade list each season. There is no salary variance, though the first two seasons are paid as a $2 million signing bonus and $4.75 million in actual salary.
It’s certainly understandable why the Flames made this move. In recent years, Giordano’s outstanding two-way game vaulted him into the ranks of the league’s elite defensemen, Until he suffered a season-ending biceps injury, he was considered among the front runners for the 2015 Norris Trophy. His skills, experience and leadership are invaluable to the Flames blueline.
Still, it’s a lengthy commitment for a defenseman who’s been limited to under 64 games per season by injuries in three of the past four years. He’ll also turn 33 when this new deal kicks in, making this a lengthy investment into a blueliner whose best seasons could be well behind him before this contract reaches its halfway point.
This deal ensures most of the core of the Flames defense – Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman and T.J. Brodie – remains intact beyond 2015-16. However, the Flames now have over $46 million invested in just 12 players. Jiri Hudler, Kris Russell, Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo will be UFAs, while youngsters Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Joe Colborne, Josh Jooris and Markus Granlund will be restricted free agents. Retaining some of these players could eat up a substantial chunk of their remaining cap space.