Monday, August 27, 2007

Giordano signs in Russia

Defenceman Mark Giordano has left the Calgary Flames and signed with Moscow Dynamo of the Russian Super League.

Giordano, 23, was offered a two-way contract with the Flames but chose instead to sign with Dynamo for $800,000 (US). Last season, the Toronto-born Giordano played in 48 NHL games and scored seven goals and 15 points.
I'm a little tied up at the moment, but MetroGnome had a nice post on Giordano's potential jump to Europe last week that deserves a mention.

In short, I think this is (a) a miscalculation by the Flames if he, indeed, is gone for the season and (b) a nice bargaining ploy by the player and his agent given he can renege on the Russia deal any time he likes (given the lack of a transfer agreement).

Still, the fact that we're seeing players this young who are on the rise leaving for what amounts to pennies is troubling. Giordano is not some scrub who won't impact on the NHL's relative talent level; he's a (potentially) dynamic, puck-moving quarterback, a player fans would much rather pay to see play and develop than some of the older, sluggish veterans Calgary will instead use on the blue line.

Giordano could potentially turn into another Kevin Bieksa — a low-paid, high-return option on the blue line who offers considerable value given where he fits in on the team pay scale. Anders Eriksson could potentially, well ... he's 32 and what you see is what you get.

But if young players aren't willing to stick it out in the minor leagues on two-way deals given salary-cap scrimping, what then? One wonders how teams plan on developing their youngsters within their own various minor-league systems when the compensation there simply doesn't reflect their value to the NHL club.

There's more to be said on this, and my bet is The Battle of Alberta will have something up shortly.



At 8:36 p.m., August 27, 2007, Blogger Kent W. said...

Agreed that this looks like a miscalculation on the Flames part. Giordano was pretty effective in his limited role last season and only looked to be getting better: something that can't be said for, say, Rhett Warrener who is by all indications on the decline.

At 9:04 p.m., August 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I had to choose between Mike Keenan and Russia, I"d choose Russia too.

At 9:10 p.m., August 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Russia far enough away from Mike Keenan?

At 9:12 p.m., August 27, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I think I might choose Iron Mike over Iron Igor or whoever they've got doling out the pain in Moscow.

At 9:25 a.m., August 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a money issue. He doesn't want to go to the AHL and earn a 10th of what he would in Calgary. Same reason the Euros go home rather than develop over here. It's too easy to walk away from the "A" for bigger paycheques overseas and return when the opportunity to stick with the big club looks promising.

At 10:01 a.m., August 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

News here is reporting, was that he was pissed about the 2-way part of the contract, guess not enough security...

At 4:42 p.m., August 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except that Giordano can't play defense and gets burned 1-on-1. Can someone say Andy Delmore??? This is not a significant loss.

At 11:06 p.m., August 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question - have any North American born players ever stayed in Russia for more than one season? I know guys will stay in Germany or Switzerland, but Russia ain't Switzerland. IIRC, Bryan Allen got stiffed out of a bunch of money playing over there during the lockout, and never did recover it.

At 1:09 a.m., August 29, 2007, Blogger Joe said...

Here's a thought: Does anyone think there is any possibility that the NHL owners and GM's may end up grouping together, particularly if this Russian trend continues over the next couple seasons, to refuse to allow former NHL'ers to return to the NHL? Obviously, a lot of these guys are career minor leaguers and whatnot, but some of them are legit enough players to be able to be significant additions to NHL teams. The preferable road for the NHL to fix the loss of mid level talent to Russia would be to make enough money to be able to pay everyone enough to keep them happy. Thats hard to do, so perhaps the only other way is to tell NHL'ers who leave that they are permanently burning that bridge, and then band together with some sort of unspoken agreement (I doubt you could make such a thing official) to not give contracts to those who leave the NHL for Russia. Letting players know that there is no coming back, ever, may make many of them, particularly legit NHL players like Markov stay in the NHL for the chance to move up the pay scale without burning that bridge.

At 4:21 p.m., August 29, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

That's collusion and it's illegal.


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