Toronto Maple Leafs: Will Brian Burke Re-Sign J.S. Giguere?

August 20th, 2010 1 Comment

When J.S. Giguere came over in a trade from the Anaheim Ducks organization to the Toronto Maple Leafs, many Leaf fans applauded the move as they felt Giguere would immediately solidify the Leafs between the pipes.

What many Leaf fans didn’t take into account was the positive relationship Giguere would develop with rookie netminder Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson and the importance that having a mentor like Giguere around could have on the young Swede.

If you think back to last season, you will remember that just prior to Giguere coming to Toronto Gustavsson was struggling. There is a definite correlation between Giguere’s arrival and Gustavsson’s improvement, which was noticeable in every facet of the game.

Since Giguere’s arrival, Gustavsson’s save percentage, goals against average, poise and overall play improved dramatically, which brings us to the question of whether or not Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke should consider signing Giguere to an extension.

Clearly, Giguere’s play in 2010-11 will likely play a huge factor in determining if Burke wants him back for the 2011-12 season, as will his salary demands.

Giguere is set to bring home $7 million in salary ($6 million cap hit for the Maple Leafs) in 2010-11, which will make him one of the highest paid goaltenders of the 2010-11 season, if not NHL history.

At $6 million a year, Giguere is not worth bringing back. That said, if Giguere demonstrates that he can once again play at a high level and continues to help Gustavsson develop, it may be worth it for Burke to consider bringing Giguere back on a two or three year extension.

While many Leaf fans will point to the likes of prospects James Reimer, Ben Scrivens and Jussi Rynnas as possible candidates to replace Giguere, it is widely believed that, with the exception of Reimer who may emerge as a legitimate NHL goaltender after the 2010-11 season, all of those goaltenders will require at least two or three years of seasoning in the AHL before they will be ready for NHL action.

With NHL GM’s looking to sign goaltenders on the cheap, Giguere will not be looking at another $6 million contract. More likely, Giguere will be looking for a two or three year deal that will pay him between five and eight million dollars, which equates to $2.5-$2.7 million per season.

Gustavsson is slated to become a unrestricted free agent after the 2011-12 season, but with the Monster playing so well in his rookie campaign and with a solid season in 2010-11 a good bet, Burke is expected to get Gustavsson signed to a long term deal sooner rather than later.

The good news is that even if Giguere decides to leave the Maple Leafs for greener pastures, the Leafs have plenty of young talent waiting in the wings and, if the likes of Reimer, Scrivens and Rynnas are not NHL ready by next season, Burke can always turn his attention to signing one of the dozen or so unrestricted free agents that will hit the market in the summer of 2011.

Some of the names that will be available that summer include Dwayne Roloson, Erik Ersberg, Jimmy Howard, Chris Osgood, Craig Anderson, Pascal Leclaire, Ilya Bryzgalov, Tomas Vokoun, Mike Smith and Ty Conklin.

Obviously, a number of those goaltenders will ink new contracts before the summer of 2011, but, as is the case every season, a few will emerge without contracts, which will make Burke’s job a little easier should he run out of options.

What is your final verdict? Would you sign J.S. Giguere to another contract if the money was right?

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1 Comment

  1. Dave says:

    The technical aspects arencleae. Gustavson is a young promissong goalie who I think might even e one of those great work horse goalies you need for a cup campaign. Two years and the leafs will be there. Giguere is a great member for the maple leafs but unless he signs for maximum 4 mill or less it’s not worth it to keep him for the long run. It might e worth picking up another older goalie from the waivers ready to fill in that number two slot as gustavson needs more ice time to get used to the demands of a number 1 goal tender.
    It will be easy to let go giguere but not with out some solace.
    Time is on gustavsons side and giguere will want a bigger pay cheque.

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