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Leafs lose Giguere and Brent, make pitch to Richards

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Chris Young

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost their first player in the free-agent game on Friday when centre Tim Brent signed a two-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes.

That was followed by the departure of goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere to the Colorado Avalanche, which was not a surprise. Once 22-year-old James Reimer came on last season for the Leafs, the veteran Giguere was squeezed out of the picture because of the Leafs' other young goaltender, Jonas Gustavsson.

Giguere was signed by the Avalanche to back up and mentor Semyon Varlamov, 23, who came in a trade with the Washington Capitals.

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Brent, a Cambridge, Ont., native, made the most of his first season as an NHL regular. TSN reported Brent, 27, signed for $700,000 and $800,000 (all currency U.S.) over the two years.

Brent, a checking centre who played the point on the Leafs' power play last season, had 20 points in 79 games for the offensively-challenged Leafs.

The Leafs found those numbers a little rich, especially when they were in the hunt for the top prize in the free-agent draft, centre Brad Richards.

Leafs executives Dave Nonis, Cliff Fletcher and Claude Loiselle joined several other NHL executives on Friday at the Mississauga, Ont., offices of Richards' agent, Pat Morris, to make their pitch for his services.

Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford picked up another ex-Leaf when he signed free-agent winger Alexei Ponikarovsky to a one-year deal for $1.5-million. Ponikarovsky, 31, had 15 points in 61 games with the Los Angeles Kings last season.

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About the Author
Hockey columnist

A native of Wainfleet, Ont., David Shoalts joined The Globe in 1984 after working at the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun and Toronto Sun. He graduated in 1978 from Conestoga College and also attended the University of Waterloo. More

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