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The goalie shuffle

J.S. Giguere could find himself on the outs in Anaheim. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

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J.S. Giguere could find himself on the outs in Anaheim. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

A recent report in the Los Angeles Times suggested Anaheim Ducks management could ask goaltender J-S Giguere to waive his no-trade clause if young Jonas Hiller steps up and seizes the starting goalie role, because the club wouldn’t want to carry a $6 million backup for the remainder of this season and next.

Giguere stated this summer he hadn’t been asked by Ducks management to waive his clause and intended to keep his job.

Already, however, there’s been Internet speculation Giguere’s former boss, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, might be interested in his services.

Of course, Burke would have to first find a taker for Vesa Toskala, whose own early-season struggles led Toronto Star columnist Damien Cox to suggest the Finn could be dealt or demoted later this season.

Toskala’s $4 million contract could make him a tough sell, particularly if he continues to struggle. In that case, Burke might be faced with demoting Toskala to the American League’s Marlies, although that’s a lot of coin to bury in the minors.

But would Burke do that to absorb Giguere’s salary if ‘Giggy’ were willing to waive his NTC?

If Giguere is unable to recapture his goaltending “mojo,” not even Burke – who owes his Stanley Cup ring largely to Giguere’s goaltending – would be willing to make that trade.

• It is early in the season, but already there’s talk of the Detroit Red Wings shopping for goaltending depth if backup Jimmy Howard continues to struggle, as he did in a 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Sweden.

ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside noted Wings GM Ken Holland hoped starter Chris Osgood would see action in about 50 games this season, leaving Howard to play the rest. However, if the latter proves incapable of handling that load, Holland may be forced to shop for another backup.

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Sportsnet.ca’s Mark Spector recently suggested the New York Islanders could peddle either Martin Biron or Dwayne Roloson to the Wings if oft-injured starter Rick DiPietro got “anywhere close to healthy.”

Howard is under pressure to prove himself a capable backup and the Wings can’t afford Osgood to have another average performance as he did in last year’s regular season.

Still, it’s very early in the season to start speculating over potential goaltending moves by the Red Wings. Let’s see where they are by month’s end before we start wondering when Holland will go goalie shopping.

• The Buffalo News recently reported Sabres GM Darcy Regier could be forced to move a player to make room for gritty forward Adam Mair, who is expected to return to action soon from off-season hip surgery.

Among those who might be affected by Mair’s return are defensemen Henrik Tallinder, Toni Lydman and Nathan Paetsch, or forwards Dan Paille and Clarke MacArthur.

If one of the above is moved it could be via waivers, the report suggested.

• The Tampa Bay Lightning recently made rugged blueliner Matt Smaby a healthy scratch, leading Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times to wonder if the move was made to give more playing time to David Hale or Lukas Krajicek, perhaps to showcase them for a trade.

Presently, the Bolts are carrying nine defensemen under NHL contracts and the scuttlebutt is GM Brian Lawton is trying to move either Hale or Krajicek.

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays and Thursdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.

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