Giguere decides to remain with Stanley Cup champs
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere has decided to stay with the Anaheim Ducks, perhaps passing up more money on the open market to sign a four-year, $24 million contract with the Stanley Cup champions.
"Every single player in this league wants to play for this organization right now," Giguere said Thursday on a conference call. "It's an amazing place to live, ownership is great, it just doesn't get any better in the NHL."
The 30-year-old Giguere was acquired by the Ducks from Calgary in 2000 for a second-round draft choice. He had a 13-4 record in the playoffs while appearing in 18 postseason games with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage.
"Maybe a little bit," Giguere replied when asked if, as an unrestricted free agent, he might have settled for less money to stay in Anaheim. "When it's all said and done, there's a market out there for goalies. They wanted to keep me, I wanted to stay here and I knew what I would be satisfied with. I'm just really excited. I've got another opportunity to play here. Hopefully, we'll get to do what we did this year again.
"It was very easy to get a deal done. There was a willingness on both sides to get the deal done. Everybody gets out of it happy with what we got. It's pretty amazing. Last year, I didn't really think I was going to come back, being a free agent. It turned out to be a pretty good season," he added.
Giguere had a 36-10-8 record, a 2.26 GAA and a .918 save percentage in 56 regular-season games. His 36 wins were a career best and set a new franchise record, and his 10 regulation losses were the fewest of any NHL goalie who played in 50 or more games.
Giguere earned $3.99 million this season.
"It's just a great pleasure for us to make this announcement," Ducks executive vice president-general manager Brian Burke said. "His work ethic is the best I've ever had at that position.
"When you examine the term and the money involved, it's clear J.S. Giguere wanted to stay," Burke added. "I want to acknowledge him for that. We realize this is a player who if he had gone to July 1st, he could have gotten a better deal. When a player makes that gesture, it's so rare in professional sports, it shouldn't go unnoticed.
"We've won one championship. We intend to compete for the next one. It would be very difficult to do without J.S. Giguere," he said.
Burke said he expected Ilya Bryzgalov, the Ducks' backup goalie, to ask for a trade now that Giguere will be around another four years.
Giguere won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the 2003 playoffs after playing in the first 21 postseason games of his career.
Burke said he hoped to make announcements regarding other Anaheim players soon. And, he added, he didn't know when defenseman Scott Niedermayer or right winger Teemu Selanne would decide whether they'll return next season or retire.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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