TJ Brodie

Gio won’t go: Flames extend Giordano for six years, $40.5M


It seemed like the Calgary Flames were going to have a big elephant in the room regarding Mark Giordano’s expiring contract next season. They removed that problem in a huge way on Tuesday.

The Flames announced a six-year contract extension for the Norris-caliber defenseman. Multiple outlets including TSN’s Bob McKenzie report that the cap hit will be $6.75 million, which would make the deal worth $40.5 million overall.

That contract will kick in beginning in 2016-17, making Giordano the highest-paid member of the Flames. He’ll make the same $6.75 million for each year of that deal, according to The Canadian Press’ Stephen Whyno.

While that’s an expensive deal out of context, that cap hit is quite the steal if Giordano remains one of the best defensemen in the NHL, which was absolutely a fair label for the veteran in 2014-15 before his season was cut short by injury.

(Really, you couldn’t hear Norris talk around awards season without “it would have been Giordano if he didn’t get hurt” …)

Here’s one additional detail about the contract, via General Fanager:

The Flames now boast a tremendous group of blueliners signed to long-term deals:

Giordano: $4.02 million in 2015-16, $6.75 million through 2021-22
Dougie Hamilton: $5.75M through 2020-21
TJ Brodie: $4.65M through 2019-20

Slight concerns amid a mostly joyous situation

Now, this does leave a few questions. Is someone like Dennis Wideman going to be the odd man out? Will this make it more difficult to re-sign the fantastic trio of Jiri Hudler (UFA), Johnny Gaudreau (RFA) and Sean Monahan (RFA) after 2015-16?

You really have to strain to see the downside for the Flames, however, as this is a bargain by expensive, high-end defensemen terms.

The genuine worry is age. Giordano is 31, he’ll turn 32 in October and will be 33 around the time his next contact kicks in.

With that “price of doing business” concern out of the way, it’s ultimately a pretty fantastic deal for the Flames.

Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks


It’s official: the Calgary Flames have acquired defenseman Dougie Hamilton, sending the Boston Bruins these three draft picks (all in 2015):

  • 15th overall selection.
  • 45th pick.
  • 52nd pick.

The early reactions are that the Bruins didn’t get enough for Hamilton, even if their takeaway is a combination of draft choices and, essentially, cap relief.

As an RFA, Hamilton, 22, still needs a contract. That might not be much of an issue, though.

Even if the Flames trade a blueliner from their bloated mix – perhaps former Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman? – this is a stacked group. Calgary’s defense now includes Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Kris Russell, Wideman and now Hamilton. Few, if any, teams can approach that sort of depth.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie makes an interesting point: even if some are upset with the return, it might be more appropriate to compare it to what they’d have received in an offer-sheet situation.

This continues a run of Bruins trades that also included shipping Carl Soderberg to the Colorado Avalanche.

With Getzlaf and Perry ‘dominating,’ Flames look for answers


In light of all the talk about low scoring and lack of offense in these Stanley Cup playoffs, it’s worth pointing out that Anaheim’s dynamic duo of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf is on a pretty healthy tear this round — the two have combined to score 15 points in three games versus Calgary, an average of 1.6 per period.

Not per game. Per period.

Needless to say, much of the Flames’ talk prior to tomorrow’s Game 4 was about slowing those two down.

“You see guys like Getzlaf and Perry dominating the game at times,” Joe Colborne explained, per the Toronto Star. “When they’re using their big bodies and putting pressure on some of our smaller guys, we have to pick up our game and answer.”

Colborne’s words speak volumes. The Calgary defense, which was a huge factor against Vancouver in Round 1, has seen its lack of size get exposed against the Ducks; Kris Russell (5-foot-10, 173 pounds), Dennis Wideman (6-foot, 200 pounds) and TJ Brodie (6-foot-1, 182 pounds) are all giving up significant height and weight to Perry and Getzlaf, who skate on a line with another big body in 6-foot-2, 231-pound Patrick Maroon (who, it should be mentioned, has two goals in three games against Calgary.)

And make no mistake — Anaheim knows it has a definitive size advantage on the Flames.

“We’ve got to use it,” Ryan Kesler said, per the L.A. Times. “We know what made us successful this year. It’s playing that down-below-the-circle hockey, and cycling the puck and wearing them down, and if we do that we’ll be fine.”

While the Flames don’t have a ton of solutions for the size problem — it’s not like they’re going to get any bigger — head coach Bob Hartley did see some positives in the Game 3 win. Specifically? Unlike in the opening two games in Anaheim, his was no longer in awe of the Ducks’ size, speed and skill.

“It seems that the admiration for the Ducks is kind of winding down,” he said, per the Calgary Herald. “That’s good news for us.”

Giordano hurt late in Flames win against Devils


There was good news and potentially bad news for the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.

The good news: They moved back into a Western Conference Wild Card position — one point up on the Minnesota Wild and two up on the San Jose Sharks — by defeating the New Jersey Devils 3-1. It’s a precarious hold on a playoff position, but it’s back in the top eight with 21 games remaining in their season.

OK, more good news: The Flames once again got solid offensive production from the blue line. TJ Brodie scored into an empty net, giving him 10 goals on the season. Mark Giordano and Dennis Wideman each had an assist, too.

The potentially bad news: Giordano, the Flames’ captain and stud defenseman, suffered an injury late in the third period after getting tangled up with Steve Bernier, according to Sportsnet. Giordano went right to the dressing room, and the injury has not been disclosed.

According to Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun, Flames head coach Bob Hartley said Giordano will be evaluated tomorrow.

That would be a huge loss for the Flames.

The veteran 31-year-old blue liner has 11 goals and 48 points in 61 games, but he also plays an average of 25:10 per game, which leads his team.

Risk Factors: Calgary Flames edition

From the same bunch of pessimists who brought you “Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup,” PHT presents a new series called “Risk Factors,” i.e. three reasons to be worried about each NHL team in 2014-15.

Calgary Flames:

1. Where are the goals going to come from? The Calgary Flames didn’t exactly starve for goals last season – other teams in the Pacific Division, like the Canucks, Oilers and, heck, even the Kings finished below them in goals-per-game average. But when you finish 23rd out of 30 teams in filling the net throughout the course of 82 games, it’s certainly worth bringing up for the following season.

Mike Cammalleri is gone, and so are his 26 goals from last season – a team best. He signed with the New Jersey Devils as an unrestricted free agent, which means his scoring touch is now in another conference. The Flames have added Mason Raymond and Devin Setoguchi this summer. Not necessarily players known to be models of consistency. They’ve shown flashes and potential and promise, yes. Doing it year after year after year has been a different story.

But next in line, behind Cammalleri last season, was rookie Sean Monahan and his 22 goals. Not bad, considering Calgary’s sixth overall pick from 2013 only turned 19 years old just after the start of last season.

But what of those dreaded sophomore slumps? Can Monahan improve on his total from a season ago? Better yet, can he avoid falling off that same pace he was scoring at a year ago?

The Flames might have a not-so-secret weapon. If there are some in the hockey world, for whatever reason, still unaware of 21-year-old Johnny Gaudreau, then it won’t take long for him to make a lasting impression. He might be what some folks would classify as “undersized” at 5’9″ tall and 150 pounds.

But he possesses immense skill and has shown this pre-season that he can score goals – some pretty ones dating back to the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C. – and set them up, too.

“The thing with Johnny,” Flames GM Brad Treliving recently told the Calgary Herald, “is that with the puck on his stick he’s an NHL player. You can see the instincts. They’re obvious. So now it’s OK, the game’s also played without the puck.

“I think for him it’s just a question of feeling his way around. He’s an intelligent guy. You can almost see his brain working ‘What can I get away with and what can’t I?’ To me he’s just sorting it out.”

Perhaps the Flames have the young talent to turn their offensive fortunes around. Only one real way to find out though. For a team that had only two 20-goal scorers in 2013-14, this is area is still a concern heading into this season.

2. Hiller needs to find his game.

The Flames went out on the first day of free agency this past July and landed themselves a goalie. A puck stopper capable of being the No. 1 guy, in Jonas Hiller, with a cap hit of $4.5 million, according to

The 32-year-old Hiller expressed frustration about how his time with the Anaheim Ducks concluded, especially after finding himself in and out of the crease during the playoffs, when his starting job was taken away, at first by Frederik Andersen and then John Gibson.

With a career save percentage of .916 and goals-against average of 2.51, the Flames get an experienced starting goalie, and that has, for the most part, been lacking since the retirement of Miikka Kiprusoff.

From Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald:

Hiller comes in, challenging Karri Ramo who is technically the incumbent No. 1 netminder after falling into a consistent groove last season.

It’s unclear at this point how many games the Flames intend to use him for but last season, he made 50 appearances for the Ducks and had 29 wins.

Still, Hiller feels it’s important to have a good working relationship with Ramo.

If the Flames are to have an outside shot of competing for a playoff position this year, stability at that position could go a long way.

“At the end, you always have to compete no matter where you go, but definitely, I felt like I have a chance here,” Hiller told the Globe and Mail. “It’s a young team with a lot of talent around. I hope my experience over the last years in different leagues, in different situations, can help out the team.”

And on a team that might have difficulties offensively, goaltending becomes even more necessary for success. If Hiller struggles to find his game, the Flames could find themselves quickly extinguished.

3. Flames need captain Giordano healthy

Mark Giordano is now 31 years old – he celebrated his birthday just last week — but is coming off his best season in terms of point production in the NHL. He scored 14 goals and 47 points. Consider, too, he missed 18 games due to injury.

There in lies a risk. He’s another year older. And when you finish second on a team in total points – 20 of those came on the power play – while playing on the back end, it shows just how valuable you are to a team.

The Flames have a very veteran defensive corps, with 24-year-old TJ Brodie already having played almost 200 NHL games.

Injuries happen in hockey. They’re unavoidable. Last season, a broken ankle suffered in late October kept Giordano out of the lineup. Well after his return, Giordano, who almost Canada’s Olympic hockey team, went on a tear, racking up a nine-game point streak.

Given his point production alone, the Flames need a healthy Giordano. It’s vital to what success they might have, and that includes on the power play.

The risk: If he can’t stay healthy, the Flames lose their best defenseman, arguably their best player.