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Is Past-His-Prime Mark Giordano Still Valuable to the Maple Leafs?

The Toronto Maple Leafs are on the lookout for a good defenceman to fill out their teams roster. Could Mark Giordano still help the team?

Yesterday, I made a case about why keeping TJ Brodie around might not have been a bad idea for the Toronto Maple Leafs as a depth defenseman. In his post today, Jon Steitzer made a similar case for Mark Giordano. There’s no doubt that Giordano, at 40 years old, is past his prime. However, the 2023-24 season also demonstrated how the team might effectively use Giordano in a role that could benefit the player and the team.

Related: Maple Leafs Shouldn’t Be Too Quick to Dump T.J. Brodie

If the veteran defenseman is still interested in a job as a depth defenseman with the Maple Leafs, Steitzer argues that the team would be fortunate to retain him.

It’s Hard to Argue About a Defenseman Like Giordano on a Team-Friendly Contract

Despite some fans’ concerns, it’s hard to find fault with a defenseman of Giordano’s caliber on an $800k AAV contract. Critics often wanted Giordano to perform like the Norris Trophy-winning defenseman he was five years ago or at least maintain the heavy minutes he managed during the 2022-23 season. While he came close to that ice time in November when the Maple Leafs blue line was decimated, his minutes tapered off as the season progressed.

Mark Giordano Maple Leafs return

Still, that reduced workload seemed to agree with him. As a result, his defensive metrics remained solid, and he continued to contribute offensively. Part of it is because Giordano still has the skills. However, part of it is that he has the smarts from experience to do a reliable job as a depth player.

Giordano’s experience and versatility make him an asset in a depth role. His ability to step into special teams roles, whether on the penalty kill or the second power-play unit, adds valuable flexibility to the roster. Additionally, his leadership could be crucial as the team transitions to a new coach, Craig Berube. Having a seasoned veteran like Giordano could also benefit young players such as Topi Niemela as they adjust to the NHL.

When He Plays, Giordano Still Has It

Although there are concerns about his age and recent concussion protocol, Giordano’s gameplay still justifies a place on the team. In key metrics, he played better than most of the other Maple Leafs’ defensemen. Additionally, his presence in a seventh or eighth defenseman role would provide needed depth.

I can’t imagine Giordano considering an opportunity elsewhere for a better shot at the Stanley Cup or more playing time. He either plays with the Maple Leafs, or his career as an active player is over.

If Giordano’s time as an active player is finished, it’s time to thank him for contributing to his hometown Maple Leafs. As Steitzer noted, Giordano outplayed his contract regarding his play, his valuable leadership, and the stability he brought to the team.

Should he decide to retire, there has to be a role waiting for him in the Toronto organization. The area of Player Development could be a fitting next step. It would help ensure his experience and knowledge continue to benefit the organization.

Related: Maple Leafs Would “Rather Extend than Trade” Mitch Marner

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. afp1961

    June 18, 2024 at 3:57 pm

    Trooper and warrior but Gio is past his due date. The 800K should be earmarked for another ELC type player that can gain form the experience.

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