LOS ANGELES A relieved Jean-Sebastien Giguere agreed to a four-year contract with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Wednesday, a day before training camp opens.
''I'm very happy to get this finally over with,'' he said. ''I did not want to miss any part of training camp. It's very important to have a good training camp and a good beginning to the season.''
Giguere's goaltending carried the Ducks to the Stanley Cup finals, and helped him get a deal worth nearly $5 million a year. He earned $900,000 last season.
''I'm expecting the same thing I did in the past, work hard and keep learning and get some experience,'' he said. ''There's lots of room for me to get better.''
The deal ensures Giguere's presence on a team that lost veteran Paul Kariya to Colorado in the offseason.
''It was very important that we get him in,'' Ducks general manager Bryan Murray said. ''Not having Jiggy here would have been disappointing. The goaltenders that have missed training camp, generally speaking, have had tough years.''
Giguere was pleased to see the Ducks sign Detroit Red Wings veteran Sergei Fedorov in July.
''It was huge, it just shows you the ownership is in this to win. They don't want to be a bad team anymore,'' he said. ''It shows other players around the league are respecting the Ducks now. I'm not sure Fedorov would have signed here in the past.''
Giguere got married shortly after the Ducks lost to New Jersey in seven games in the finals in June. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
''I was pretty relaxed all summer,'' he said. ''I took care of business on the ice and I was in a good position to negotiate.''
Murray said the sides appeared far apart earlier this week and weren't making progress until Giguere intervened.
''He was the one that spoke up at one point and said we better get it going,'' Murray said.
Murray said Giguere sought substantially more money than what he received, which didn't surprise Ducks management.
''J.S. had a real decent regular season, but a fantastic playoff,'' Murray said. ''As we won game by game, we were all very happy and excited, but you knew at that point the cost was going up.''
Giguere had a 1.62 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage in 21 playoff games.
He also set a record for the longest playoff overtime shutout streak in NHL history: 168 minutes and 27 seconds. He allowed just one goal against Minnesota in the Western Conference finals, an NHL record for a best-of-seven series.
Giguere was 34-22-6 with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage during the regular season. His 34 wins were fifth-best in the NHL and a club record.
Giguere already has some of his new salary committed.
''He had promised to buy me dinner one night on the road,'' Murray said. ''It's a big-time meal I can tell you.''
Peninsula Clarion ©2014. All Rights Reserved.