Sunday, March 27, 2011

GIGUERE: FROM BANKABLE $7 MILLION MAN TO $800,000 BARGAIN?




J.S. Giguere has stopped da puck a lot in his 13-season career - 13,129 saves to be exact.

But anyone who has even casually followed Jiggy's current season in Toronto knows that there have been painfully few highlights.

In fact, his season has seen more lows than the guy whose job it is to count the attendance at Atlanta Thrashers games. Sources tell Stop Da Puck that Giguere can also expect his salary to see a new low.

Goaltending is an art. But, in the NHL, it's also a business. That means the oft-injured Giguere's .898 Save % and 2.90 GAA - not entirely horrendous, but among the worst numbers of his career - is bad business and will certainly cost him money when he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Jiggy's actual (non-cap) salary this season is a whopping $7 million (that's not a typo, FYI). And, according to league sources, if the 33-year-old tests the free-agent market this summer he will be seeing a lot less cabbage.

How much less? One Western Conference team source estimates his value at a maximum of $1.75 mill, depending on his injury status and how desperate the team may be for a veteran backup. Another source is far less optimistic, telling Stop Da Puck, "I wouldn't pay more than $800,000."

Ouch.

So, bottom line: Who will "win" the Jiggy "sweepstakes?" And just how much will that team pay?

Despite cries from the haters to dump him like yesterday's trash, there is a realistic scenario in which Toronto (as in, his buddies Burke and Allaire) would re-sign him. That scenario: At a substantial discount.

In a world where similarly aged and experienced goalkeepers are making sub $1.5 million - Chris Osgood at $1.4 million and Mary Turco at $1.3 million - Giguere best re-calibrate his expectations.

Call us crazy, but with Jonas Hiller literally being a head case, and the Orange County fate of Ray Emery in question, if Giguere is willing to play for $1 million next year his former team the Anaheim Ducks just might come quacking.

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