We're on to our first seeded matchup of the inaugural Tournament of Greatness to determine the greatest goalie mask in Anaheim Ducks history, featuring a pair of masks that are special for different reasons. One because it was a trademark design that lead the second greatest playoff run in franchise history, and the other because it was special edition tribute worn for a single season. With the Play In meeting of Roussel vs Hebert in the books (recap post coming tomorrow with updated bracket), we officially kick off the first round now.
#4 Jean Sebastien Giguere 2002-2003
For the former Halifax Moosehead it was just a matter of opportunity. Drafted 13th overall in 1995 by the Hartford Whalers, Jean-Sebastien Giguere played eight games with the Whale in the 1996-97 season before being traded to the Calgary Flames with Andrew Cassels for Gary Roberts and Trevor Kidd the following summer. Two years with the Flames saw him make just 22 appearances, and in June of 2000 the Mighty Ducks traded their 2000 second round draft pick to give Giguere that opportunity. One year of backup duty and another as a starter set the table for a season and playoff that still ranks amongst the greatest of all time in franchise history.
With what became his trademark robed Mighty Ducks and colorful backdrop, Giguere's 2002-03 season was a coming out party in proving his numbers the previous season were no fluke. He went 34-22-6 (his 34 wins were fifth most in the league) with a .920 save percentage (seventh in league) for the second straight season, a 2.30 goal against average, eight shutouts (second in league), and the fourth most shots against (1820) and saves made (1675) in the league. The eight shutouts is still a franchise single season record, while the 34 wins rank as fourth most, .920 SV% is fourth best amongst starters, and 1675 saves are fifth most. Giguere's playoff performance was even more legendary, becoming the first goalie since Ron Hextall in 1987 to win the Conn Smythe in defeat as the Mighty Ducks valiantly fell in seven games to the New Jersey Devils.
#5 Mikhail Shtalenkov Indiana Jones 1995-96
In 1995-96 the Mighty Ducks were coming off a basement finish in the Pacific Division the previous year, picking up the fewest points in the West and tied for fourth least in the league during the lockout shortened 94-95 campaign and in need of an upgrade. During March of 1995 Mighty Ducks owner Disney completed some upgrading at Disneyland, as the Indiana Jones Adventure ride was officially opened to the public after some 20 months of construction. To mark the occasion and tribute the movie franchise, Mighty Ducks third year backup Mikhail Shtalenkov donned an Indiana Jones themed mask. With golden snakes looming on each side and the forbidden eye from the ride on the forehead shooting down at his number 35 in bones on the chin, it was a neat bit of synergy between hockey club and parent company.
Shtalenkov would make his most appearances with the Mighty Ducks to that point in his career in 95-96, going 7-16-3 in 30 games played with a .896 SV% and 3.12 GAA. The numbers were improvements on the previous season, and right around where his career averages would be upon retirement after the 99-2000 season. Thanks to an injury to Guy Hebert, Shtalenkov assumed the starting role from late November through December. Amongst his best performances during that stretch was a 37 save tie against the Washington Capitals at the Arrowhead Pond on November 29, and a 36 stop home victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 13. The Mighty Ducks narrowly missed out on making the playoffs for the first time, finishing with as many point as the Winnipeg Jets but having one fewer win.
It's Voting Time
Which mask design is better? Vote in the poll below, share your thoughts in the comments, and remember if you comment about it on Twitter with #ACmaskTOG your chosen mask will get another point added to the total. The poll is open until noon on August 11, so be sure to cast your vote and share with as many Ducks fans as you know!
Historical game information and stats in this article taken from www.hockey-reference.com