Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Giguere or Hiller?

It would be awfully silly to think that there wasn't a bit of a goaltending controversy at the beginning of the season in Anaheim, as both Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Jonas Hiller were both vying for the number one job. The argument was somewhat one-sided towards Hiller, as he received all the ice-time in the playoffs and played exceptionally well in doing so. Saying that, the Ducks and their coaching staff did maintain that the job was left wide open in camp, for either one to take.

On Monday, there was an interview that surfaced from down in California that has some direct quotes from Giguere, which is seemingly giving the Ducks an ultimatum to either move him or move Hiller.

With Giguere returning to the line-up from a groin injury there are questions being surfaced, in regards to this article. The Ducks have reportedly refuted the article as being true or accurate, which does seem awfully defensive and doesn't mean a great deal now. The trade winds have been surrounding Giguere have been blowing since the playoffs, around the time when Hiller was taking that number one job by the throat.

Thanks in large part to the Giguere injury, Hiller has played in 13 games for the Ducks, amassing a 6-5-1 record with a shutout, behind a team that has really yet to find their mid-season form. Hiller carries a 2.76 GAA and .919 save percentage, which are very respectable, especially for a goalie on a somewhat struggling team.

The other point of contention is that of the contract situation. Giguere is currently on the backend of a 4-year deal he signed in 2007, with another season after this with a cap hit of $6 million, while Hiller is in the final year of a 2-year contract extension, which has a cap hit of $1.3 million and will make him a UFA in the summer.

If this report and interview is actually accurate, the Ducks have a pickle on their hands. Giguere is the elder by five years and has experience of a Cup win, a Conn Smythe and another Cup Finals under his belt, but the younger Hiller doesn't have the experience, but is still earning the starts. With his pending free agency, the Ducks can mould the Swiss keeper under their projected cap number, which I believe is the tipping point for the Ducks. The interview (if true) should expedite the process of getting a trade done, but if he goes, he'll be going somewhere that needs a starting goalie, especially for the cost against the cap.

Hiller should continue to get the bulk of the starts, but if a trade doesn't happen in the next month, I would expect Giguere to get some showcase starts, trying to prove his value to teams that are interested.

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