Some two hours after the NHL trade deadline passed, a subdued Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving made perhaps the biggest announcement of the day – that the Flames had lost team captain Mark Giordano for the rest of the season.
Giordano will undergo surgery to repair a torn tendon in his bicep later this week and will require four to five months to recover, according to Treliving.
Giordano's loss is a major blow to Calgary's playoff aspirations. He was leading all NHL defencemen in scoring at the time of the injury – which occurred last week against the New Jersey Devils – and he played more than 25 minutes a game.
Treliving indicated that he tried to bring in reinforcements for the blueline before the deadline, knowing the extent of Giordano's injury, but couldn't find a reasonable fit.
"You don't replace Mark Giordano," Treliving said. "You don't just do that today. The urgency to do something – you have to match that with the calmness of not overreacting and all of a sudden making a big mistake. To think that Mark's leaving our lineup and we're going to replace him today, that's fool's gold. We pushed very hard up until the buzzer to see if there was a fit to offset that loss. But you don't offset that loss."
Calgary did add a defenceman on Sunday, claiming David Schlemko off waivers from the Dallas Stars. But that was it for the Flames, even though there were other options out there – Anaheim, for example, added three defencemen Monday.
The Flames made just the one deal Monday – trading prospect Sven Baertschi, a minor-league forward, to the Vancouver Canucks for a second-round pick. It leaves Calgary with six picks in the first three rounds of a deep 2015 entry draft.
None of that mitigates Giordano's loss or its impact on the Flames' breakout season. "Gio looked at every avenue to not go through that procedure and see if he could keep playing, or if it settles down over time," Treliving said. "But we're not going to risk anything with him – there is no opportunity for him to play. This is the only measure that's left and, obviously, it's not good news."
Going into Monday's games, the Flames were holding down third place in the Pacific Division by virtue of the tiebreaker over the Los Angeles Kings.
"Mark hasn't been in this situation for a long time, where we're pushing for a playoff spot and the games are fun," Treliving said. "This guy's the heartbeat of our team. He was, as you'd expect Mark to be, devastated by the news. I've talked to him a lot – we've tried to cheer each other up, we haven't done a great job of it, but we're getting there. This is not what he wanted, but it is what it is and we'll deal with it."