Leafs goalie bits: Gustavsson undergoes minor heart surgery, Giguere discusses 2011-12
While James Reimer is creating a minor buzz in the Toronto Maple Leafs net as he played four out of their last five games, it’s the team’s other two netminders who made news today.
First, the team released news that Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson was placed on the injured reserve after undergoing a minor heart procedure. The Leafs reported that Gustavsson can work out again in seven days. It might seem weird that he can resume exercising again, but the large Swedish goalie faced similar issues last season. So it sounds like something that won’t be a major issue for Gustavsson, although a professional athlete dealing with heart problems isn’t exactly the most promising scenarios.
Speaking of goalies in less-than-promising situations, Jean-Sebastien Giguere said he wants to stay in Toronto but “only if he plays.”James Mirtle rightly points out that the trade market will be limited for an expensive, aging and struggling goalie such as Giguere. Still, he does possess some name recognition, as he won a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe during his days with the Anaheim Ducks. Giguere discussed the fact that he would prefer to stay in Toronto but would be open to a change if it meant an opportunity for more playing time.
Toronto also has Jonas Gustavsson under contract for next season, although the sophomore Swede has struggled and was seeing a specialist after he had an elevated heart rate during Wednesday’s game with the Toronto Marlies, where he has been playing on a two-week conditioning stint.
Unless it’s determined Gustavsson will play next season in the minors, it appears a crowded situation for the 33-year-old Giguere to return to and it’s believed he will waive his no-trade clause if teams show interest. Given his salary, age, injury issues and slipping play, the most he is likely to command at this point is a late round draft pick.
“Would I like to stay? Yeah,” Giguere said. “I like where this organization is going. I like living here ... Saying that, this organization has a bunch of goalies in the system. So where does a veteran goalie fit into that? Does he fit into it? That’s a question you have to ask Burkie.“I wouldn’t be mad at Burkie if he traded me or anything like that. I wouldn’t be mad at the organization.”
Giguere struggled behind a weakening defense in Anaheim and a downright weak blueline in Toronto, but all excuses aside, his clout on the market isn’t at an all-time high. It seems that Giguere has at least some semblance of self-awareness that he’ll need to take a pay cut, but he must also understand that he will have to settle for a 1a/1b situation at best. If he can accept the fact that he’ll need to fight for ice time, he might be useful still at 33 years old. It’ll be interesting to see how that turns out, whether he ends up in Toronto or somewhere else.