The Seattle Kraken could have their first captain. The team is expected to select Mark Giordano from the Calgary Flames, according to Samil Nadim Valji of TSN and confirmed by Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic.
Giordano, who will turn 38 in October, is just two years removed from winning the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman. In that 2018-19 season he recorded 74 points in 78 games, but that is certainly not the level of offense the Kraken should be expecting. In the two years since, he has totaled 57 points in 116 games and will likely continue to decline at that end of the rink. He also will carry a $6.75M cap hit for just this season, before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
Still, he’s a no-doubt top-four option for next season, and possesses the kind of leadership skills to potentially become the team’s captain right out of the gate. Though the Vegas Golden Knights did not name a captain in their inaugural season, they didn’t have a player like Giordano who has held that role for the last eight seasons.
If the other reports are true, the veteran defenseman is joining a blueline that has the potential to be quite impressive in 2021-22. Adam Larsson, Jamie Oleksiak and Vince Dunn have already been linked to the team, giving them a top-four that some teams around the league would kill for. It does also mean that the Kraken could have a glut of options to choose from and some available in trade, just as the Golden Knights did four years ago. The team received and then flipped names like David Schlemko, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Marc Methot and Alexei Emelin for future draft picks, giving them a solid foundation for moves in the coming years. The Kraken could do the same, especially if the first year doesn’t result in a playoff push.
For Calgary, losing Giordano was obviously something they were prepared for, as they left him off the protected list. Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson are the new core of the defense, with veteran Chris Tanev signed for three more years. Beyond that, though, the team will have to make sure to round out their depth chart and replace the minutes (and leadership) that are heading out the door. Taking a $6.75M cap hit off the books helps in that regard, but it also means they won’t be able to cash in on what was a valuable asset. Trading Giordano in any other summer would have been easy, but contending teams didn’t have the extra protection slot to be able to bring him in. Instead, they’ll watch their captain leave for nothing, suggesting real change is coming in Calgary under head coach Darryl Sutter.