TORONTO – During those turbulent days following Deadline Trade, when the Toronto Maple Leafs’ defense team was in the midst of an instant boost from their newest and oldest recruit, coach Sheldon Keefe deemed the best side in Mark Giordano’s game.
“It puts out the fires,” Keefe concluded, about this seasoned, steady and fit veteran.
Well, another long summer, a hand-to-hand brawl, had not arrived in Liveland after a week of age, and Giordano was using a fire extinguisher, washing the balance sheet with glowing embers everywhere you looked.
By getting a big discount in his hometown on Sunday and signing a two-year, $1.6 million extension, Giordano left general manager Kyle Dupas “happy.”
And the fan base should be equally enthusiastic about the Giordano style we were before, which has given Dubas some coveted room to hire a goalkeeper and given the young players (Rasmus Sanden, Timothy Lilligreen and Pierre Ingevall) with their well-deserved increases.
“All he does is to help the team win, and that includes tremendous sacrifices in these contract negotiations,” Dubas said.
GM and one-time winner Norris on Saturday agreed a slightly higher AAV, near $1 million, according to Sportsnet’s Elliot Friedman, when the impending UFA voluntarily offered to cut his salary slightly to free up spending elsewhere.
think about this.
Giordano earned $6.75 million last season from Seattle, and Toronto.
His new $800,000 salary, which is still above the veteran’s minimum, indicates an 88 percent pay cut. True, he’s a 39-year-old for the season, but Giordano still performs in the top four, and leaders like him never fail to capitalize on the open market.
“I am definitely fortunate to have my career so far and to be in a financial position where I am in a good place. Giordano, who has earned close to $62 million during his 1,024-game career, said I wasn’t worried about serious negotiation or anything like that,” said Giordano. kind.
“I want to be here. I love the team. And I wanted to do what I could do to help this team move forward and win. I’ll leave it at that.”
Not unlike Jason’s “I’ll take less if I could” Spiza before him, Giordano reached that point in his career where the only thing that mattered was chasing the Stanley Cup.
His recommitment to Toronto is an endorsement of the roster Dubas has built and a bet that the high-end talents of John Tavares, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are matched by the work ethic and competitiveness that will eventually lead to a breakthrough.
“The way they fought and competed is something special to watch from your best players, and I definitely think these guys can push this team over the winning or losing streak,” Giordano said.
“I believe in this team. I think this team is competitive.
“It was a perfect fit.”
Giordano’s faith only grew in the second round as he watched the Tampa Bay Lightning jump to a 3-0 lead in the Presidents Cup winning Florida Panthers series. The same Lightning team that could have eliminated in overtime the next target wins Game 6.
“Honestly, you think about every play,” said Giordano, who had a pair of assists in the series. “You come back to your mind and think about what you could have done differently as a player and as a team.”
In addition to locking himself in a room he trusts “not far away,” Giordano loves to represent his home city. This is where his wife Lauren also belongs. A two-year agreement ensures that their son Jack and daughter Reese will not have to uproot or change schools – or live in time zones far from their extended family.
“As you get older, and with kids, it changes a lot in life. You really cherish those moments, especially as my kids meet their grandparents,” Giordano said.
“It means a lot to the kids and obviously to my parents and my wife’s parents. So it’s great. And I want to take advantage of this. This is a great opportunity.”
The funny thing is that Giordanos actually owned a home in Toronto until two or three years ago.
“I sold it,” Giordano said. “I wish I hadn’t now.”
With the negotiations over, the search for a home will begin soon. This is followed by the intense training and commitment it takes to get the body in shape for another 82 games.
If islanders Zedino Chara and Andy Green call it a career this summer, the only active NHL top defender from Giordano in 2022-23 would be Oilers’ Duncan Keith.
“I feel I can still contribute. I can still help the team push the needle forward,” Giordano said.
“The moment I don’t think I am contributing in a positive way, I will not continue. But I feel good about my game, and I feel like I am the guy who can also help the youth along the way.”
Liljegren made big strides in skiing to Giordano’s right, and the steady and intelligent veteran made a quiet presence on and off the ice. He improved on the Leafs’ 55th penalty and helped play the force, capturing Matthews’ record 55th goal of the season.
Giordano doesn’t need a letter and doesn’t care much about payday. His focus is individual and collective.
“Honestly, at this point in my career, it’s all about being on a team that I think can win and get to the next level,” he says.
“That’s all it’s about for me.”