In celebration of the Anaheim Ducks’ 25th anniversary, Anaheim Calling is ranking the 25 top Ducks of all time.
Honorable Mentions and No. 25-21
No. 5: Saturday, Sept. 29
No. 4: Sunday, Sept. 30
No. 3: Monday, Oct. 1
No. 2: Tuesday, Oct. 2
No. 1: Wednesday, Oct. 1
Number 5: Jean-Sébastien Giguère
*cue Get Jiggy With It* - In
walks skates Jean-Sébastien Giguère
Jean-Sébastien Giguère is one of the beloved Ducks who elicits both feelings of nostalgia of the good ol’ days of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the feelings of anticipation of Anaheim Ducks that we know today. Jiggy was one of the essential pieces needed to transition the Anaheim Ducks fully out of expansion team obscurity into Stanley Cup Champions.
Originally drafted by the Hartford Whalers during the 1995 NHL Draft, Giguere (or “Jiggy” as we fondly call him) eventually made his way over to Orange County after being traded by the Calgary Flames to the Mighty Ducks on June 10, 2000. He started his career as a Mighty Duck on the Ducks’ farm team, the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (talk about throwback), but it wasn’t long before Giguère took over Dominic Roussel as backup to starting goaltender Guy Hebert. In 34 games, he posted a 2.57 GAA and .911 save percentage, which prompted the Mighty Ducks to resign him.
2003 Cinderella Playoff Run
Jiggy only continued to improve his performance, posting 2.13 GAA and .920 save percentage in 53 games during his first full season as a Mighty Duck. But it was really the next season where he solidified his place in Ducks history. Jiggy’s outstanding performance during the 2002-2003 regular season allowed the Mighty Ducks to enter the 2003 playoffs as the seventh seed in the Western Conference. From there, the rest was history....Jiggy led his team on a Cinderella run to their first Stanley Cup Finals. It began with a 65-save performance in a 2-1 triple overtime Game 1 win, setting an NHL record at the time for most saves by a goaltender in their playoff debut against the defending Stanley Cup champions and second-seeded Detroit Red Wings in the opening round. Jiggy continued to shine as the Ducks continued on to sweep the Red Wings and eventually overtake the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference Finals. As we all know, even though the Mighty Ducks were eventually defeated in seven-game series by the New Jersey Devils, Giguère exited the 2003 the playoffs with a 1.62 GAA, .945 overall save percentage and 15-6 record, undefeated in seven overtime games and setting a record for the longest playoff overtime shutout streak at 168 minutes and 27 seconds. Fun fact, he even had fewer losses than Stanely Cup winning goaltender Martin Brodeur.
Showing one of the greatest playoff performances in NHL history earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy, making him only the fifth player to receive the Conn Smythe Trophy as part of the losing team.
But it was really about the heart—the passion to overcome the early Final Series deficit and the heartwrenching loss he had to endure despite putting on a nearly close-to-perfect performance. He may have lost, but what a way he lost:
2007 Stanley Cup Championship
Fortunately, that wasn’t the end of Giguère story in Ducks history. After a few bumpy years, the newly named Anaheim Ducks with a revamped roster were able to make it through to the 2007 playoffs. After missing the first three games of Round 1 games against the Minnesota Wild due to the birth of his son, Giguère came back to play and never looked back. Jiggy was part of the 2007 Anaheim Ducks team that brought Lord Stanley to Anaheim for the first time.
J.S. Giguère in a way carved a legacy for goaltending within the Ducks organization. Those who came after him were the envy of other franchises and the Ducks have since had a few “goaltending” dilemmas, which is a good one to have. It’s clear that strong goaltending has become one of the crucial pieces that the Ducks front office painstakingly analyzes.
To all Ducks fans, Jiggy represents more than just a good goaltender. He was heart, passion and the backbone of the team when they most needed him. Like most goaltenders, he wasn’t a loud guy in the locker room; but he wasn’t afraid to stand up as a leader when his team needed one—whether it was in the locker room or on the ice.
Jiggy is both the old Mighty Ducks and the new Anaheim Ducks. He was both tragic hero and a triumphant hero. He was a loser and a winner.
He was Jiggy.
While all good things have to come to an end, is there any ending sweeter than this? (No, this is not about Teemu Selanne, even though almost everything Ducks is about Teemu Selanne. We all know where he will appear on this list of 25 Greatest Ducks of All Time.) But if THE GREAT 8 acknowledges him, then we too also have to acknowledge him—Fast forward (or not) to the 2:32 mark. Jiggy helps make one of the single best MOMENTS in Ducks History....
I’m not crying. You’re crying. *BAWLING*