Final Grade 2012: Jean-Sebastien Giguere

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 23: Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere #35 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on during a break in the action against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Pepsi Center on December 23, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Giguere had 29 saves as the Avalanche defeated the Lightning 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

#35 / Goalie / Colorado Avalanche



May 16, 1977

2011 Cap Hit: $1,250,000

2012 Status: 1 more year left on the contract

One of the things I love most about the Avalanche is the organization's willingness to take risks on players other teams overlook. Such is the case with Jean-Sebastien Giguere. He came into Colorado tagged as over-the-hill, injury-prone, and much too far past his prime to be at all effective. However, what the Avalanche got was as far from that reputation as one can get. They also got the perfect compliment to young goaltender Semyon Varlamov.

Giguere started the season as Colorado's back up goaltender. The Avs told him from the start what they wanted: someone to hold down the fort while their starter rested and a mentor to the young franchise netminder. He knew his place. Varlamov knew it too. Not a lot of people out there could have predicted that Giguere would end up being the rock that helped anchor an inconsistent team for nearly half the season both on the ice and off of it.

Giguere's stats speak for themselves, so there's little more I can say on that other than the man is a competitor. Despite recognizing the role the Avalanche wanted him to play, he never stopped pushing himself—and in turn, Varlamov—to be better. But more than that is what you don't see in those numbers: the impact he clearly had on Varly. In practices, the two goalies would spend a great deal of time working together. Often, Giguere would pull Varly aside to talk about whatever drill they happened to be doing. By the end of the season, you could see some of Giguere in the way Varlamov played. The young Russian was more calm in the net, and his positioning was stronger. The tandem of these two goaltenders was hailed by some as the best in the league. That might be a stretch when it comes to wins and losses, but the effect the two had on each other certainly made it the best possible scenario the Avs could have hoped for.

2012 Outlook: In 2012, Giguere will continue to provide a wealth of benefits to the team and, in particular, Varlamov, and at just over a million bucks, that's quite the bargain. Unless something bizarro happens, expect to see Jiggy in an Avs sweater at least until the season is done.

2011 - Jean-Sebastien Giguere 32 1820 15 11 69 2.27 850 781 .919 2

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