After the Ducks’ disastrous home stand there were quite a few sports writers, including myself, that brought up some interesting trade scenarios. The one that keeps popping up has been J.S. Giguere to Toronto for nothing in particular. Pierre LeBrun of ESPN wrote about this topic and why it would work for both sides.
From the LeBrun Blog on ESPN.com:
A trade that makes too much sense!
In my opinion, if there’s a trade that just makes too much sense, it’s Jean-Sebastien Giguere to Toronto. Clearly, it makes sense for Anaheim, which wants to cut itself from the goaltender’s contract ($6 million this season and $7 million next season). But I also think the Maple Leafs should give this some serious thought (I think they have, at least a little bit).
The Leafs are one of the few teams on Giguere’s short list (he has a no-movement clause), he would be reunited with goalie coach Francois Allaire and he could mentor rookie Jonas Gustavsson, much like he did Jonas Hiller in Anaheim. Let’s face it: Vesa Toskala (UFA July 1) is probably beyond repair in Toronto, where the fans have turned on him. The Leafs, meanwhile, could rid themselves of some excess baggage in the Giguere deal, perhaps sending a forward or two the other way, a guy like Alexei Ponikarovsky, for example.
The Leafs will have some extra bodies up front when Phil Kessel makes his much-anticipated return. And, by the way, Giguere might help the Leafs win a few games over the next year and a half, which isn’t a bad thing considering Boston holds both of Toronto’s first-round picks. It’s just my own speculation, but I just think it makes too much sense.
There are a ton of different trade scenarios that you could make up with this one. One I think would be intriguing is trading Giguere and a first-round draft pick for some above-average Leafs prospects or expiring contracts. The first-rounder would do multiple things for Toronto. First, it would give them a selection in next year’s first round which they lost in the Phil Kessel trade, and second, it would make it easier to swallow Giguere’s large contract because they will get more out of it.
In addition, the Ducks would be able to part with that pick more easily considering they received two first-rounders from Philadelphia in the Chris Pronger trade, and would be able to unload the contract of Giguere in the process.
But can you imagine what the Ducks could do with the cap space they would have next year if they pulled this off? With Giguere’s $6 million off the books, the expected retirements of Scott Niedermayer ($6 million) and Teemu Selanne ($2.65 million), Saku Koivu’s ($3.25 million), Nick Boynton’s and Sheldon Brookbank’s UFA status (a combined $2.05 million), Evgeny Artyukhin’s ($1 million), Erik Christensen’s ($750,000), and Kyle Calder’s ($500,000) expiring contracts, and finally Todd Bertuzzi’s buyout money ($1.33 million), and he Ducks will have a monstrous $23.5 million of cap space, assuming the cap remained the same.
The team still needs to re-sign Bobby Ryan and Jonas Hiller, but there should still be plenty of money left over after that. Could you imagine bringing a player like Ilya Kovalchuk over? And then adding his old buddy Marc Savard? The Ducks would have a legitimate left-wing to ease the scoring loss of Selanne and create a second line that is all but guaranteed to score goals. The team will not lose any core offensive players and has the potential to add quite a few other pieces.
It might be better for the team to focus on the defense, though, as Niedermayer will be a huge loss to a team that is already struggling on the back end. The Ducks will also need to re-sign James Wisneiwski if they don’t want to see the defense completely rebuilt in the coming summer. There will be slim pickings for defense on the UFA market next summer, but teams might be able to take advantage of others’ unfortunate cap situations, a la Chicago, with some trades.
The Ducks should be in good position to make some trades. The team was able to stockpile some draft picks and prospects at last year’s trade deadline and have a few good options in the minors. The Ducks could conceivably keep all core players while adding to their lineup, a luxury for a Ducks team that’s offensive core is under the age of 26 years.
Just a little something to chew on as we watch the season progress…