Stanley Cup winning goalie John-Sebastien Giguere has a lot of time to think about his future these days, sitting on the bench watching his Anaheim Ducks take a surprising 2-1 series lead over defending Cup champion Detroit while young Jonas Hiller has what seems to be a stranglehold on Giguere’s job. With one year left on a nearly $6,000,000 contract, the 31-year-old Giguere has to be thinking about where he might go in the event he waives his no-trade clause because its not impossible Hiller can take Anaheim to the Conference Finals on a beer budget compared to the pricey Giguere.
Anaheim, rightfully focused on the playoffs this minute, have needed a second line center since they traded Andy McDonald to St. Louis a few years back. They solidified their defense at the 2009 trade deadline with the acquisition of six foot 4 Ryan Whitney from Pittsburgh. Scott Niedermayer is a UFA this year, but the Ducks will do whatever they can to re-sign him if he doesn’t retire. Bruising, goal-scoring defenseman, Chris Pronger is hard to replace, but his high salary and increasing age—as well as the arrival of Whitney—might see his days possibly numbered in the O.C.
The Philadelphia Flyers have a major problem on their hands. On the upside: the Flyers are loaded with young, up-and-coming talent and they score tons of goals. One the downside, their needs are first and foremost a top notch goal tender as they have been trying to solve their problems in net with Band-Aids since Ron Hextall departed to Quebec in the Eric Lindros trade. They also need a nasty, punishing defenseman who can teach Sidney Crosby a lesson every time he skates down the ice much the way the now-retired Derian Hatcher did when he wore the orange and black.
Don’t believe the hype that the Flyers are after malcontent Ray Emery. A bling-bling goalie with lots of skills playing in Russia after a major blow up with an NHL team is not the kind of player Paul Holmgren and Bobby Clarke go after. The Flyers saw what happened only a few years ago with a malcontent like Terrell Owens across the parking lot with the Eagles and they will pass on Ray Emery. Scott Clemmensen or Florida’s Craig Anderson are more likely UFA signings for the Flyers but neither of them are proven NHL champions. Jiggy has the kind of bling (unlike Emery and his flamboyant Lamborghinis) that the Flyers should be looking for in a 32-year-old goalie – a Stanley Cup ring – if they want to overcome nearly two decades of playing against Marty Brodeur and with decades to come of Crosby and Malkin on the Pens.
The Flyers need a goalie, and their window to win a Cup could open in 2009-2010 with the addition of Giguere. His numbers have been fantastic for the past three years (2.34 GAA, 33 wins a year and 0.917 save percentage) with the results to prove it. The Ducks need a top-line center and with the emergence of Claude Giroux, the Flyers can actually afford to trade crafty Daniel Briere to Anaheim to make cap room for Gigeure.
If the trade were to get bigger and to include Chris Pronger and his short-term contract, the Flyers might offer former Duck, Joffrey Lupul and or Matt Carle as bait along with other picks. In this huge deal, the Ducks fill their needs, have the room to back the Brinks truck up for Scott Niedermayer, and get a 30-goal-scoring winger and a nice young, puck-moving D-man in Carle. The Flyers become a “now” team with Pronger with a solid young core. Anaheim becomes more deep and possibly lures Teemu Salanne back to play with Briere. Both teams could win this trade.
The X-factor in a deal like this is not need – its money. The Flyers can clear a lot of cap room if they walk away from Marty Biron and trade Briere. If they can trade Carle and or Lupul they clear up more room. Mike Knuble is a UFA but a team and fan favorite as the Flyers would like to see him back however if signing Braydon Coburn going forward is a priority, the Flyers might have to start playing some of their young prospects on the higher lines in 2009-2010.
The Flyers might also might want to take a run at Jay Bouwmeester and if they do – don’t be surprised to see them move a nice signed player (think: Lupul) for the rights to sign the Florida UFA before the open market. Bouwmeester, Timonen and Coburn makes for a serious antidote to Malkin and Crosby especially if you add a goalie like Giguere in front of the likes of Richards, Carter, Gagne and the other Flyers high flying forwards.