Work in Progress

Justin Goldman




The big moves in goal between Toronto and Anaheim may come as no surprise, but the impact will still send shockwaves through both systems. On the heels of Jonas Hiller's new four-year deal, the Ducks finally found a way to reunite J-S Giguere with Francois Allaire and Brian Burke. All is well that ends well I guess, as the fan's favorite scapegoat, Vesa Toskala, was released from Leafs prison and will now probably end up as a free agent this summer.


The big goalie buzz from these moves is focused in Toronto, where Giguere is now the subject of a revival story. I like the move by Toronto to sign him for a couple of different reasons. First of all, it gives them some pretty solid options heading into the summer. Either Giguere regains his old form from years ago and makes the Leafs a truly competitive team, or he splits time with Gustavsson and turns into a perfect backup mentor by parlaying all of his NHL wisdom and experiences into a steadily improving Monster.


One of the most important aspects to keep in mind with this trade is the influence Giguere will have on Gustavsson. Every aspect of the position, from stance and style to preparation, demeanor and attitude will slightly rub off in a positive manner. When a wise sage is brought in to play with an apprentice, the educational element is at the forefront of the relationship. Giguere is there to teach (indirectly and directly) and Gustavsson is there to learn.


I'm not a fan of Giguere's blocking style at all and I've spoken plenty on the fact that he has dehydration issues, which causes him to tire out by the third period and lose his focus and a grip on games. But in a new situation like this, everything can change. I can no longer rule out the possibility that Giguere's fantasy value will continue to be trash. There's a chance he could become quite valuable, actually, but only time will tell.


There are elements of Giguere's game that can greatly benefit Gustavsson. I can see Gustavsson watching Giguere go through drills while standing next to Allaire, who is reinforcing and pointing out certain aspects of Giguere's game verbally to Gustavsson. Sometimes the best and most effective way for a young, raw-talented goalie to learn how to execute things correctly is to see a veteran doing it right in front of them.


So my favorite aspect of the trade is that Giguere becomes a perfect role model for a goalie that has recently sparked the ire of many fantasy managers. This was revealed in the School of Block forums over the weekend in a somewhat surprising manner, as it seems a lot of people think Gustavsson is already a bust. To this I can only shake my head in bewilderment, as this same dynamic took place just a year ago with Jonas