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Ex-‘Hawks goalie Huet wants back in the NHL: “I still belong, I’m better than some other guys”

Jul 9, 2012, 3:10 PM EST

Cristobal Huet 2

Thought he hasn’t appeared in an NHL contest since May 2010, Cristobal Huet thinks he should be back in the league.

“I still belong, I’m better than some other guys, and I’d like another shot,” Huet told InGoal Magazine. “I’d love to come back, but I know once you are out of the league a little bit guys tend to forget about you and that’s the nature of the beast.

“But I still think I have something to show in the NHL, and to prove I still belong there. For me it would be a great second chance to come back and play in the best league.”

Huet famously (or, infamously) signed a four-year, $22.5 million deal with Chicago back in 2008. It was an eye-popping decision given:

– Chicago already had Nikolai Khabibulin (and was paying him $6.75 million per season.)

– Huet was 32 at the time and had never played more than 52 games in a season.

– Huet was traded by the playoff-bound Canadiens at the deadline to Washington, where he posted a 2.92 GAA and .909 save percentage in an opening-round playoff loss to Philly.

Huet’s time in Chicago was marked by spotty play and an inability to wrestle the starting gig away from Khabibulin and, later, Antti Niemi.

The Windy City stint ended with a Stanley Cup victory in 2010 (during which Huet backed up Niemi)…followed by a “loan” to Fribourg-Gotteron of the Swiss League, a clever way for the ‘Hawks to make his massive cap hit disappear.

Funny thing happened in Switzerland, though — Huet found his game. He posted a .932 save percentage and 1.99 GAA last season and, coincidentally, his aforementioned four-year deal expired.

With the UFA goalie market thinned out and teams still scrambling for backups (it’s down to the likes of Dan Ellis and Alex Ault), Huet figures now is his chance to get back into the NHL, noting his agent has talked to “a few” teams.

“I know my role would be this way now that I am out of the league,” he said. “So for me it would be an opportunity to compete, but at same time help a guy, be a good guy in the room and try to be the best I can when I play.”

  1. kopy - Jul 9, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Why not? The guy seems to know his role, so as long as he’s willing to be compensated as such…

    • puckhead1966 - Jul 9, 2012 at 4:45 PM

      Brian! No! Down boy. Put down that pen………. and put that contract in the shredder!

      If it was imprtant to him he could have voided his contract after the fisrt or second season when it was clear it wasnt’ working and he coldn’t be moved. Maybe after voiding the rest of his deal, he could have moved on to another team, try to prove himself, but he took the money even when it meant going to Europe to play. I don’t understand these guys that have 10-20 mil, or more in the bank and keep playing in the minors when many of them could get jobs in the NHL at a much lower rate. After 2 big houses and a dozen cars, I wouldn’t know what to do with 10 mil.

      • elvispocomo - Jul 9, 2012 at 5:34 PM

        I’m not sure you get how contracts work. Under the old CBA (pre 2005) you could renegotiate contracts but all you could do with the most recent CBA was buy them out. That was the final decision of the Hawks, not Huet, and would have left them with a portion of his cap hit spread out over longer – which they still couldn’t have afforded.

        It’d be ironic now if the Hawks brought him back but I think they need someone more solid to challenge for #1. Is he better than either Emery or Crawford? I’d give him a PTO for sure to tryout as a backup to Schneider in Vancouver though since it remains to be seen if those stats would hold up against NHL (or at least pre-season NHL) level talent.

      • puckhead1966 - Jul 9, 2012 at 5:41 PM

        elvispocomo. The buyout is the teams option. The player can’t be forced to take money and move to Europe. I’m sure a player can opt out of a contract, but he gives up all money and benifits owed to him. I don’t see any team that could use him. Van as Eddie Lack warmed up and ready for a back up. I guess, sign him to a 2 way and send him to the minors and if one of your regs goes down and he’s playing well bring him up, but I don’t know why you would do that with a guy who is fairly old for hockey and hasn’t played in the NHL in 3 yrs. There are cheaper more flexable options out there.

  2. ineedmorehossa - Jul 9, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    LOL

  3. mclovinhockey - Jul 9, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    ….. hmmmm I think I recall someone saying this a while ago…. oh yeah, that was me.

  4. bluejacketsbuff - Jul 9, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Hell will take him better than mason

    • mclovinhockey - Jul 9, 2012 at 4:28 PM

      hell will take him??? hahahaha sorry that just sounded funny. But I agree, on a market like this with so many teams needing goalies, he will easily be able to find a decent low paying gig as a s backup.

    • thefranchise777 - Jul 9, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      I’m with you. Bring him in, make Bobrovsky a heavily used backup, and see what happens. At least Huet brings a veteran presence that the Jackets have been sorely lacking.

  5. 28giroux28 - Jul 9, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Wouldn’t mind seeing him on the Flyers, certainly more capable than Leighton.

    • mclovinhockey - Jul 9, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      agreed, he would be a lot better then leighton… however, leighton is about as good as that hot problems music video so its not saying much

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