TORONTO — Mark Giordano is coming home.
The Maple Leafs acquired the veteran defenceman and Toronto native along with centre Colin Blackwell from the Seattle Kraken on Sunday for two second-round draft picks and a third-round selection.
“To be able to be a part of this going forward and it being my hometown is obviously a huge bonus,” Giordano said on a conference call. “But to be able to come to a team that has a real good shot at obviously creating some damage in the playoffs is something I’m really excited about.”
Giordano should provide grit, responsibility in his own zone and leadership to a blue line that also recently added the hard-nosed Ilya Lyubushkin in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes, and is hoping to get Jake Muzzin back from a concussion before the end of the regular season.
As part of the deal, Seattle is retaining 50 per cent of Giordano’s US$6.75-million salary cap hit for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign.
The 38-year-old pending unrestricted free agent spent his entire NHL career with the Calgary Flames before being exposed in last summer’s Seattle expansion draft.
The Kraken then named Giordano, who has six goals and 23 points in 55 games this season, as the franchise’s first captain.
The NHL trade deadline is set for Monday at 3 p.m. ET.
The Leafs also made another move Sunday, shipping depth defenceman Travis Dermott to the Vancouver Canucks for a third-round pick in 2022.
Giordano, who also served as Flames captain, will be greeted by at least one familiar face in Toronto’s locker room after spending plenty of time lined up alongside Leafs defenceman T.J. Brodie in Calgary.
Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas told reporters earlier this month his focus would be on trying to upgrade the team’s back end.
Giordano, who won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenceman at age 35 in 2019, has registered 149 goals and 532 points in 1,004 regular-season games with the Flames and Kraken. He added seven points (one goal, six assists) in 23 playoff contests for Calgary.
Blackwell, meanwhile, had eight goals and 17 points in 38 games with the Kraken this season. The 28-year-old, who scored shorthanded against Toronto earlier this month, has put up 23 goals and 49 points in 119 games with the Kraken, Nashville Predators and New York Rangers.
The Kraken received second-round picks in 2022 and 2023 along with a third-round selection in 2024 as part of the deal.
The trade with Seattle marks the second time in as many seasons the Leafs have acquired another team’s captain one day prior to the deadline after grabbing Nick Foligno from the Columbus Blue Jacket last year.
Toronto, which hasn’t won a playoff series since 2004, currently sits third in the Atlantic Division, one point back of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning and two up on Boston.
The first-place Florida Panthers are six points ahead of Tampa.
The Panthers, Lightning and Bruins all made significant moves in recent days, with Florida acquiring Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux and Montreal Canadiens defenceman Ben Chiarot, Tampa securing winger Brandon Hagel from the Chicago Blackhawks, and Boston nabbing blue-liner Hampus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks.
And now the Leafs have their man in Giordano.