Giordano an easy decision to be first captain of Kraken

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Mark Giordano was named the first captain of the Seattle Kraken on Monday.

The 38-year-old defenseman will be Seattle’s on-ice leader when it begins its inaugural season against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS).

Giordano was captain of the Calgary Flames from 2013-21. He played his first 15 NHL seasons with the Flames after signing as an undrafted free agent July 6, 2004, and was claimed by the Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on July 21. He scored 509 points (143 goals, 366 assists) in 949 regular-season games, including 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 56 games last season, and has scored seven points (one goal, six assists) in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

He was voted the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman in the NHL in 2019 and won the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award in 2020.

Giordano led Calgary in average time on ice per game in each of the past five seasons, including last season, when he averaged 22:57.

“I can still contribute on both ends ice,” Giordano said. “I know I am an older guy, but I feel great physically and mentally. If you want to play big minutes in the NHL, you have to play against other team’s best players.

“I also think I can help our young defensemen a little bit and all our younger players.”

The Kraken also announced forwards Yanni Gourde, Jordan Eberle and Jaden Schwartz and defenseman Adam Larsson would rotate as alternate captains. Gourde was claimed in the expansion draft from the Tampa Bay Lightning, who he helped win the Stanley Cup the past two seasons. He scored 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 56 regular-season games and seven points (six goals, one assist) in 23 playoff games.

Eberle was claimed from the New York Islanders in the expansion draft. He scored 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) in 55 games last season. Schwartz signed a five-year, $27.5 million contract ($5.5 million average annual value) with the Kraken on July 28. He scored 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 40 games last season for the St. Louis Blues, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 2019. Larsson, who was selected from the Edmonton Oilers in the expansion draft, scored 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 56 games last season.

Eberle, who lives in Calgary during the offseason, said Giordano was the right choice to be captain.

“A lot of people obviously see the work he puts in on the ice and the leadership capabilities that he has,” Eberle said. “But being from Calgary I know firsthand the leadership role that he has in the community, whether it’s charities or the little things he’s doing inside of Calgary. We’re lucky to have him and obviously an easy decision in my mind.”

Six NHL teams do not have a captain: the Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Flames, New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators. The Montreal Canadiens likely won’t have one on the ice this season after general manager Marc Bergevin said Sept. 6 that a replacement will not be named for defenseman Shea Weber, who is expected to miss the entire season.

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