Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe announced that defenseman Mark Giordano will miss some time with an upper-body injury.
Giordano, 40, suffered the injury late in the first period after blocking a shot, only for Kevin Stenlund to score seconds later and give the Panthers the 1-0 lead, and did not return to the game. He finished the game with one shot in 6:31 of ice time as the Leafs were able to rally back and win 2-1 in the shootout.
The Leafs are already without Timothy Liljegren and John Klingberg on the blueline, and only just got Conor Timmins back into the lineup, so they’ve had their fair share of injury concerns on defense this season. It’ll likely mean that William Lagesson draws back into the lineup for the Leafs on Thursday against the Seattle Kraken.
Giordano currently has one goal and four assists for five points in 19 games this season, which is good for a 21-point pace in a full season. It would be the lowest point total of his career since the 2012-13 lockout shortened season when he had 15 points. He’s one of the best penalty-killing defensemen in the league, with a 6.54 expected goals against per 60 minutes that ranks sixth among defenders with at least 500 minutes of shorthanded ice time since 2021.
Giordano was an undrafted free agent signing, first joining the Calgary Flames AHL team in 2004, and eventually making his NHL debut in 2006. Outside of a brief stint in the KHL in 2007-08 season, Giordano spent 15 seasons with the Flames after that, including eight seasons as captain and a Norris Trophy win in 2019, before he was selected by the Seattle Kraken in their 2021 expansion draft, and then dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2022 trade deadline later that season.
Giordano is currently in the final year of a two-year contract with an $800,000 cap hit, and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the 2024 offseason.
The Leafs entered Tuesday’s action in fifth place in the Atlantic Division and hanging on to the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. They snapped a two-game losing skid with their win over the Panthers, and improve to a 11-6-3 record.