Unless a team plans to overpay for Roberto Luongo trade, the goaltending market is thin out there for teams that are looking to add a little something extra between the pipes. Yet, in that thin market Cristobal Huet is having a hard time finding work out there.
Huet is looking to return to the NHL after a two-year hiatus over in Europe. The Chicago Blackhawks worked out a deal to send him across the pond after they chose to go with a goaltending combination of Marty Turco and Corey Crawford in 2010-2011.
That was after Huet lost his starting job to Antti Niemi in 2009-10, which of course was a contributing factor in the Hawks eventually claiming their first Stanley Cup victory in 49 years. Huet had signed a four-year deal worth over $22 million with the Blackhawks and it was that cap hit that really cost him a spot in the NHL.
But now he’s looking to return and has already declared that he deserves a shot, claiming that he is better than some goaltenders out there. When you look around at some of the backup talent in the league, he certainly has a case.
Huet had a solid run in Europe, adjusting to a different style of play that could help to be an asset if he catches on with an NHL club. He’s obviously not going to be a no. 1, but could be a solid option for a team out there looking for a veteran backup.
If someone takes a chance on Huet, it could be a contending club with a clear starter already established. Look at a team like the Vancouver Canucks, if they’re able to trade Luongo, the Boston Bruins who need a veteran presence behind Tuukka Rask, or the Los Angeles Kings, who might be looking for a backup if they trade Jonathan Bernier before the season begins.
If Cristobal Huet is going to get a job, he may have to go the Ray Emery route. He may have to come into training camp on nothing more than an invite and prove that he belongs. I’d expect him to catch on somewhere and could be a nice addition for a club just looking for a backup.