On a trade deadline day where most teams fighting for a playoff spot were adding bodies, the Calgary Flames received just about the worst news possible: star defenseman and captain Mark Giordano will be sidelined until the 2015-16 campaign:
The loss of Giordano, the franchise's top defenseman and a frontrunner this season for the Norris Trophy, is a massive blow to Calgary's post-season aspirations. He was injured in a Feb. 25 game against the Devils, but Monday's diagnosis wouldn't have made a difference were it made a couple days in advance of the trade deadline; there's simply no replacing the 25 quality minutes of ice time he averaged this year, nor was there a trade option available who could step in and provide the Flames with anywhere close to the 11 goals and team-best 48 points Giordano has posted. He was named captain in 2013 because he's a heart-and-soul type of player, and his impact inside Calgary's dressing room has only grown since that time. The Flames had claimed blueliner David Schlemko from Dallas Sunday to fill out the blueline, but the reality is they're going to need more from the likes of T.J. Brodie, Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell if they're going to secure a berth in the playoffs.
The Flames are currently third in the Pacific Division with 70 points, but the ninth-place, division rival Kings have the same number of points and trail Calgary by only two regulation or overtime wins. Without Giordano in tow, that deficit could be erased in short order. And although the Flames' strong season has been a pleasant surprise (to say the least) to their fans, seeing things go sour because of a cruel bite from the injury bug takes away a fair amount of the joy from Calgary's success.