The Ducks have traded Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the most decorated goalie in franchise history, to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Jason Blake and goaltender Vesa Toskala.
The writing was on the wall Saturday, when the Ducks tabbed Jonas Hiller as their goaltender of the future by extending his contract for four years. Giguere, who was set to become a free agent after the 2010-11 season, must waive his no-trade clause to approve any trade.** He was expected to do so to be reunited with goaltending consultant Francois Allaire and general manager Brian Burke in Toronto, which is also much closer to his native Montreal.
Toskala, 32, lost his starting job to Jonas Gustafsson in Toronto, and will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, when he is owed $4 million. Blake, 36, still has two years and $6 million remaining on his contract after this season, with a cap hit of $4 million each year.
Toskala has appeared in 260 career games with Toronto and San Jose, going 127-82-25 with 13 shutouts, a 2.77 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.
Blake peaked as a member of the New York Islanders in 2006-07, when he scored a career-high 40 goals. In an 11-year career that began with the Kings in 1998, Blake has 184 goals and 427 assists in 724 games.
**Update: The Toronto Maple Leafs were one of the teams Giguere previously indicated to Bob Murray that he would be willing to accept a trade to. Presumably, the trade was a done deal as soon as Bob Murray and Brian Burke had decided upon the specifics.
“We are pleased to add Jason and Vesa,” said Murray. “Vesa will get an opportunity to play behind Jonas Hiller and Jason brings veteran leadership and offense to our club.”
Since he was acquired from Calgary prior to the 2000-01 season, Giguere became the franchise leader in games played (447), wins (206) and shutouts (32). He trails only Martin Gerber (2.13, .923) and Hiller (2.46, .919) in goals-against average and save percentage, respectively (2.47, .914) among Ducks backstops with more than one game played.
“J.S. is as classy and professional as they come,” Ducks general manager Bob Murray said in a statement. “On behalf of the organization, we thank him for his tremendous contributions to the franchise both on and off the ice, not the least of which were two trips to the Stanley Cup Final and one championship. We wish him well in Toronto.”
Giguere has always saved his best work for the playoffs, where is 33-17-0 lifetime with a 2.08 goals-against average. His six shutouts in the playoffs are tied for 20th all-time. He led the Mighty Ducks within one game of the Stanley Cup championship in 2003, when he was handed the Conn Smythe Trophy after the New Jersey Devils were handed the Stanley Cup. In 2007, he started 18 playoff games for Anaheim, winning 13 and losing four, and leading the franchise to its first-ever Stanley Cup championship.
Giguere lost his starting job to Jonas Hiller in the 2009 playoffs and never regained it, despite being given several opportunities to do so this season. He went 4-8-0 with one shutout, a 3.14 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in 20 games this season.