Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Mark Giordano has a big decision to make this summer.
Coming over from the Seattle Kraken in a trade this past March, the 38-year-old Giordano put up two goals and 10 assists in 20 games with the Leafs this season.
But in the final year of a six-year deal originally signed with the Calgary Flames, he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer for the first time in his career.
“Everyone knows I’m from Toronto, I love it here. I’ve loved my time here,” Giordano told reporters on Tuesday. “We’ll see what happens in the next [little bit]. [I’ll] talk to my agent here in the next week. It’s still pretty fresh, the loss, but [I’ll] talk to him and go from there. Obviously, I don’t think it’s a secret that I enjoyed my time here.”
The Norris Trophy winner as the league’s top defenceman in 2018-19, Giordano was plucked from Calgary by Seattle in last summer’s expansion draft and made the first captain in Kraken history. With the Kraken well out of the playoff race, Giordano’s hometown Leafs then made a move for the veteran defender.
“I can still help the team push the needle forward,” Giordano added. “I always say the moment I don’t think I’m contributing in a positive way I’m not gonna keep going. But I feel pretty good about my game. And I feel like I’m a guy who can also help young guys along the way.”
When it comes to the Leafs’ stars such as Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, and William Nylander, Giordano was also complimentary.
“I definitely think that those guys can push this team into the right direction, over that line of winning and losing,” Giordano added.
Evolving-Hockey.com projects Giordano to earn a two-year, $10.8 million contract, while also leaving the Leafs. But in the latter stages of his career, Giordano could trade opportunity for money.
Elliotte Friedman suggested this week on an appearance on Sportsnet 590 The Fan that Giordano would possibly take a pay cut to remain with the Leafs.
“I think if he’s willing to come back for a low number, I wouldn’t be surprised if that gets finalized,” Friedman said.
On the Western side of the NHL, Giordano’s old Flames teammates are set to take on the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the NHL playoffs.
“I’ll be watching for sure,” Giordano said of the matchup. “But just right now it’s tough to watch hockey at all for the next few days or weeks or whatever it is.”