This was an odd season across the NHL, but perhaps none more so than for the Calgary Flames, who struggled with consistency and issues both on and off the ice. Even through the playoffs, the Flames struggled to get their top players going, while their depth players were scoring at a breakneck pace.
One player who looked out of sorts for chunks of this season was Mark Giordano. Coming off a Norris Trophy winning season in which he amassed 74 points in 78 games, it was expected that this season would be excellent as well, even if he came down a bit from his previous career highs.
However, he struggled to match his totals of the previous year, earning only 31 points in the shortened season. While he did lead all Flames’ defencemen with this figure, the question remains: what happened?
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Let’s go to the numbers
Given Father Time’s eventual hold on us all, it seemed as though Giordano may have taken a bit of a step back this season given his inability to score, but the shot creation numbers were not far off from last season.
His underlyings were not nearly as bad as the scoreline may suggest and in terms of creating chances for the Flames, he actually performed quite well. He led the Flames’ defencemen in all categories except individual high-danger chances, where he finished second behind Noah Hanifin.
Given the Flames performed substantially worse this season than they did last season, these numbers are not far off from the norm. Where things get interesting is his shooting percentage. At 5v5, he had 109 shots on net and finished the season with only two goals. That’s a shooting percentage of 1.8%, astonishingly low.
To put that in comparison, Noah Hanifin had 110 shots on target, and had four goals, putting a shooting percentage of double that. Across the NHL, Giordano is one of only two players with more than 100 shots on target with less than a 2% success rate. The other player is the Kings’ Matt Roy, and Giordano had significantly more scoring chances for.
Even through the playoffs, his offensive underlying numbers were quite good. While he was second behind Hanifin in terms of shots and shot attempts, he led the way with 19 scoring chances for and two high-danger chances in 10 playoff games.
To put it in perspective, Rasmus Andersson, who had two goals at 5v5, had 12 fewer shot attempts and two fewer scoring chances. He also had zero high-danger chances on net. Defensively, Giordano took the most hits for the Flames with 42, blocked the most shots at 17, and drew a penalty. Not bad for the 36-year-old.
What does this mean?
Giordano has been one of the scapegoats for the Flames this season, especially when talking about the playoff series against Dallas. He absolutely underperformed compared to last season, and he was unable to answer the bell when the team needed him most. But it was not for a lack of trying.
While he may be getting older, this season felt a lot more like one burdened by immense bad luck than under performance. It is tough to say what to expect for next season, but assuming the age curve doesn’t destroy him, expect for some more bounces to go his way.
Gio was an undrafted player, who took a late invite to training camp over going to York University to study business, and ended up playing in the NHL and winning a Norris. Luck has been on his side, and hopefully he’ll see a bit more of it on the ice next season.