Toronto Maple Leafs Grades #1. Mark Giordano
Stats with the Leafs:
Games Played: 78
Games Played: 11
Assists: 2 (stats nhl.com).
Signed through 2023-24 at $800k (capfriendly.com).
Clearly not picking on Giordano here – there had to be a starting point for these player grades and age seemed most appropriate – but the Toronto native significantly slowed down as the months progressed last season. Most of that can be attributed to a larger amount of playing time due to injuries sustained by assistant captain Morgan Rielly and T.J. Brodie.
Giordano, who is great value for his salary as a fifth or sixth D-man, did admirably when called upon to ascend the lineup. He also set a record for most blocked shots in NHL history during a game against the Seattle Kraken, the team that he captained after being selected in the 2021 expansion draft. The Leafs gifted Giordano a shield to commemorate the milestone.
As the season wore on, Giordano wore down. His performance was noticeably poor in the Leafs second-round series against the Florida Panthers.
It was only the second time in his career that Giordano had played passed the first-round of the playoffs. He is a tremendous leader and helpful as a teacher – it’s just that the Leafs should not need to count on a guy who is not even playing on the back nine of his career.
Giordano probably should already be in the clubhouse. He played close to 19 minutes a game last season, but if he’s asked to do the same in 2023-24, the Leafs really cannot be serious about wanting to make a deep run.
Love Giordano, but he’s not fleet of skate and that is problematic when forechecking comes knocking in the post-season.