The Maple Leafs could soon be seeing goaltender Justin Pogge again – only this time, the former Toronto netminder will be on the opposing team’s bench.
Pogge was called up by the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday, who the Leafs will visit Monday night (10 p.m. ET). The recall was necessary after goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere left practice Tuesday with a strained groin.
“It’s something that’s been bugging me for a few days here,” Giguere told reporters. “It’s not bad, as I’ve been practising every day, but it’s something that I’ve got to stay on top of right now and hope that it’s going to get better in the next few days.”
Jonas Hiller will start for the Ducks Wednesday night against the Dallas Stars, with Pogge serving as his back up. Hiller is 3-2-0 with a 2.67 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.
“Sometimes you’ve got to be smart and realize it’s not like [Hiller’s] a schlub out there,” Giguere told reporters. “If it’s smarter to make him play because you could use that extra day, then maybe you do that.”
It’s unclear how long Giguere will be sidelined. So far this year, he’s 0-1-1 with a .910 save percentage, and a 3.06 goals-against average.
Pogge was playing for the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL before getting the call from the big club. In two games, the 23-year-old goalie has a 1-0-0 record with a 0.75 goals-against average, a .950 save percentage and one shutout.
According to a release from the Condors, Pogge is the first player in the team’s 12-year existence to be recalled directly from the team to the NHL.
Originally drafted by the Leafs in the third round of the 2004 NHL entry draft, Pogge spent three seasons with the Toronto Marlies, the team’s AHL affiliate, recording back-to-back 26 win seasons the last two years.
Last season, he also managed to get into seven games with the Leafs, but performed poorly, compiling a 1-4-1 record to go along with a goals-against average of 4.36 and a .844 save percentage.
After a fantastic showing at the 2006 world junior championship, where Pogge was named the tournament MVP, he was anointed the Leafs goalie of the future, but failed to live up to those expectations.
Anaheim acquired Pogge from Toronto this past off-season for a conditional pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft.