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Monday February 1, 2010 9:39 pm

Blockbuster breakdown: Anaheim Ducks

Jason BlakeAs part of Sunday’s blockbuster trades, Ducks GM Bob Murray added a couple of key pieces from Toronto to his struggling team. The Ducks picked up forward Jason Blake and goaltender Vesa Toskala. Blake is the key piece for Anaheim as they’ll try to make a late push to grab a playoff spot from one of the other slumping teams in the West. They had to give up former Stanley Cup winner and current backup goaltender J.S. Giguere to get them, which in their eyes was a bargain.

Blake has been inconsistent throughout his career, spent with the Kings, Islanders, and Leafs. He was a 40-goal scorer in 2006-07, but surrounding those years were 28 and 15-goal campaigns. He is known for his fast, aggressive play and is not afraid to take shots. In 56 games with the Leafs this season, he’s scored just 10 goals while putting up 26 points total. Heading back to the west coast may be good for him as the fans in Toronto have begun to turn their backs on the highly paid forward.

Toskala will serve as backup to Jonas Hiller, whose 2.75 goals against average and .916 save percentage have earned him better accolades than what his team’s record shows. Toskala was a shaky backup in Toronto, and the fans were on him about every mistake he made. If nothing else, the change of scenery might do Toskala some good. But instead of the constant questions about where he fits in, his role as backup in Anaheim will be well-known. If he ever wants to be a number one goaltender in the NHL again, he’ll have to prove that he’s good enough to do it.

The Ducks made a move that bolstered their offense and might help them get back into a playoff hunt. They did well by their Stanley Cup goalie Giguere, sending him to a team that will play him and also added an offensive speedster. They took on an extra couple of million dollars in the trade, but they have cap room to spare and are willing to spend money to get back to the playoffs. Blake and Toskala may not be enough to get them there, but they are definitely a step in the right direction.



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