I’ve been fascinated watching the goaltending situation in Anaheim over the last season and a half. At the start of it all, Jean-Sebastien Giguere was widely recognized as one of the league’s elite goaltenders, a guy whose name was occasionally mentioned in the context of a job with Team Canada. There was good reason for it too; Giguere had been a consistently solid goaltender, and of course the fact that he’s made two finals appearances with the Ducks (he won the Conn Smythe one time, and the Stanley Cup the other) automatically puts him in the “money goaltender” conversation.

Giguere’s loss of the starting job to unheralded backup Jonas Hiller (another very good goaltender) knocked him down the list of NHL goaltenders, but I’m not at all sure that was fair. As some readers may know, Giguere’s father died on December 15, 2008. Naturally, the goaltender struggled after that happened, and I think it might be illuminating if we consider Giguere’s 2008-09 season as two seasons: one before his father’s death, and one after. Let’s consider it along with his play the last three years:

  • 2006-07: 36-10-8, 2.26 GAA, .918 SV%
  • 2007-08: 35-17-6, 2.12 GAA, .922 SV%
  • 2008-09 (up to Dec. 15): 11-7-2, 2.86 GAA, .913 SV%
  • 2008-09 (after Dec. 15): 8-11-4, 3.34 GAA, .886 SV%
  • 2009-10: 3-4-4, 2.63 GAA, .920 SV%

We can argue the rationale behind signing a goaltender to a contract worth $6.0 million per season, but I’d suggest that if Giguere was worth it when the Ducks signed him to the deal, he’s worth it now. Looking at those numbers, I know exactly what I see: I see an elite goaltender whose game fell apart for a while after his father died.

Anaheim has a decision to make this summer; Giguere’s under contract for another season while Hiller will need a new contract. Based on who they’ve started this season, the smart money says they probably want to keep Hiller; if so, I wonder if they would be willing to take some salary back from a team interested in acquiring Giguere. It’s an avenue worth pursuing because I’d guess that Giguere would take an opportunity to start and run with it.

Comments (2)

  1. The Ducks may actually have a few options, especially if they’re willing to take some extra salary for this year coming back. Perhaps something like Chris Clark and Jose Theodore from Washington would work for both clubs. Toronto could use an upgrade in net and Burke is familiar with Giguere already and they could send Toskala back the other way. Detroit, L.A. and Philadelphia also seem like teams that could use an upgrade. If the Oilers could somehow convince the Ducks to take Khabibulin for Giguere I would be thrilled but it seems like the Ducks should have better options (and that Oiler management won’t be trying to move Khabibulin).

  2. Why would the Caps want Giguere I think they have a very good and very cheap goaltender in Varlamov. If the Caps go anywhere this post season it will be because of the play of their young goalie. If he’s to go anywhere it would be to the Leafs. They need a goaltender to win them some games and get them into the post season. Since neither Toskala and Gustavsson have looked impressive. And the heart issue the Gustavsson would have me very worried if I was a Leaf fan about his future.

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