#2. Mark Giordano
When the Toronto Maple Leafs were rumored to be trading for Mark Giordano, I didn’t think they should do it. Considering the price of recent trades, and the fact that Giorddano is 37 and on the decline, and would take ice time away from Rasums Sandin and Timothy Liljegren, it just didn’t make sense.
But the Leafs acquired him dirt-cheap, and he immediately started playing like he was a #1 defenseman, so I couldn’t be happier to have been wrong.
57% Shots Share
60% Expected Goals
55% of the Scoring Chances
62% of the Dangerous chances.
1.11 Points per 60 5v5
5 Points total in 11 games.
When it comes to shots-for, expected goals and scoring chances, only Timothy Liljegren has better numbers on the Toronto Maple Leafs blue-line. The Leafs coach started by easing Giordano into the lineup with a low amount of 5v5 minutes compared to Morgan Rielly, but the last four games have seen the Leafs run their three pairings a more even amount of ice time. (Instead of the 3rd pair playing 12 minutes and the top pair playing 18, its been closer to 14 and 16 minutes respectively).
This balance will help the Leafs a lot in the playoffs when other teams start to overplay their stars. The Leafs blue-line is incredible with the addition of Giordano and I would expect him to get even more ice time and responsibility as time goes on, making the Leafs even better.
If, as he has been so far, Giordano continues to play like a legitimate #1 defenseman the Leafs go from “one of hockey’s best teams” to “easily the best team.”