Tag: Cristobal Huet

Cristobal Huet

Cristobal Huet stays in Europe, signs four-year deal with Swiss club

The NHL won’t have Cristobal Huet to kick around anytime soon.

After rumors he was in talks with the Canucks and Kings, Matias Strozyk reports Huet has signed a four-year deal with Lausanne of the Swiss league. The team’s website confirms the signing (link in French) with the nearly 37 year-old former Blackhawks Stanley Cup winner.

Huet had said he was hoping to land an NHL deal believing he belonged in the league and he was better than some guys, but with the threat of a lockout and presumably good, secure money being thrown his way – Switzerland it is.

Huet’s contract with the Chicago Blackhawks expired this summer but he hadn’t played in the NHL since the end of the 2010 season. Unless he pulls some wacky Dominik Hasek-like stuff, we won’t likely be seeing him on North American ice again.

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

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.”

Team USA rolls over France at Worlds, Canada awaits tomorrow

Kyle Okposo, Cristobal Huet

Give it up to the United States for making sure to take care of business right off the bat. Opening up the World Championships against France could’ve been a time to struggle to find team chemistry. Instead it turned into a 7-2 victory to kick off the tournament the right way.

Kyle Okposo netted two goals while Max Pacioretty had a goal and two assists and Paul Stastny had three assists to lead the way. Jimmy Howard stopped 21 shots to keep the French at bay. Former Blackhawks and Capitals goalie Cristobal Huet stopped 28 in the loss.

The game didn’t start out quite the way the United States was hoping as France jumped out to a 1-0 lead 12 minutes into the first period. Okposo would make sure France didn’t go into the intermission with a lead scoring his first goal. The opening 20 minutes proved to be the wake-up call Team USA needed as they scored three goals in the second and third to roll on past the French.

Up next for the Americans: Canada tomorrow (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). Canada slipped past Slovakia 3-2 in their opening game of the tournament. Expect Team USA to have to deal with Cam Ward in goal while Ryan Getzlaf, Jamie Benn, Jordan Eberle highlight the wide array of talent the Canadians brought this year.

Just remember, the key in the preliminary round is to finish in the top four of the group. Knocking off Canada would go a long way to helping the cause and open the door to finishing first in the group.

Sabres welcomed to life under the salary cap by sending Kotalik and Morrisonn to AHL

Ales Kotalik

In the current NHL, teams that spend a bit too much in the offseason and find their salary cap situation to be problematic. The Blackhawks had that problem last summer and this time around it was the Buffalo Sabres who found themselves above the fold after owner Terry Pegula shelled out the big bucks to get Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino into town.

Rather than do things the way Chicago did it by dealing away valuable players making slightly unmanageable salaries, the Sabres took the route most traveled by teams looking to get under the cap: Sending guys to the AHL.

Ales Kotalik and Shaone Morrisonn, making a combined $5.075 million against the salary cap, will be starting their seasons in Rochester with the Americans rather than in Buffalo with the Sabres. It’s all because their salaries are a bit too much for the Sabres to manage. Kotalik and Morrisonn are both potentially useful players, although not premiere players, and could be a good fit in Buffalo (or anywhere else in need of a part-time scorer or physical defenseman) but their cost to play is too rich for anyone’s blood.

While no one is going to feel bad for guys making $3 million (Kotalik) or $2.075 million (Morrisonn) to play hockey anywhere, being priced out of the NHL is part of the harsh reality of life in the NHL. Players are more than entitled to get whatever an owner wishes to pay them to play, but when their play gets matched or exceeded by players making less money, those are the breaks. Just ask Wade Redden of the New York Rangers about that.

source: Getty ImagesThe Rangers gave Redden a monster free agent contract and now he’s likely doomed to stay in Hartford until his deal runs out because his cap hit is obscenely high for the kind of play he brings. Does that make Redden a bad player? Not at all, he’s just not worth it at the cost that comes to the Rangers against the salary cap. Same goes for Chicago and Cristobal Huet.

While this is how life goes in the NHL these days and this is how teams can sidestep financial missteps, there’s just something that feels cheap about being able to cover up financial errors like this. The hopes that teams below the salary floor would be there to absorb those mistakes have, for the most part, not happened. Teams like the Islanders, Coyotes, Jets, and Predators all found alternative ways to go about business without taking on a potentially brutal contract.

Last season the New Jersey Devils ran into cap issues and tried to find a new home for Brian Rolston. Rolston came with a $5.062 million cap hit and for two seasons at that amount, there weren’t any buyers. When this summer rolled around and Rolston was entering the final year of his deal, however, the Islanders happily swooped in and traded for the 38 year-old winger to help bring themselves to the salary floor.

Guys like Morrisonn and Kotalik are in the final year of their contracts and while that can prove to be motivation to earn a new deal, they’ll have to show they can bring it big in the AHL to hopefully get moved to another team that has a need.  Having to prove yourself in the AHL when you’re an NHL-caliber player makes the task seem Sisyphus-like when the boulder you’re pushing uphill is a salary that most teams can’t bear to have.

40 players put on waivers; Sabres plan to get under salary cap becomes evident

Shaone Morrisonn
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It’s an inevitable part of training camp when players are released, cut, or waived. Today, 40 players were placed on waivers by 11 different teams. Among the notable names are two guys who are necessary for their teams to stay under the salary cap in Chicago’s Cristobal Huet and New York Rangers’ Wade Redden. With those players waived, Huet will head back to Europe to play while Redden is destined for the AHL.

A pair of names from Buffalo that landed on the waiver wire were forward Ales Kotalik and defenseman Shaone Morrisonn. The Sabres are currently over the salary cap by more than $3.5 million according to CapGeek.com. By putting Kotalik and Morrisonn on waivers with the purpose of sending them to the AHL and get their salaries off the books, they’ll free up $5.075 million.

Kotalik has a cap hit of $3 million while Morrisonn is set in at $2.075 million. Life in the NHL isn’t always fair and a spot in the big show is never guaranteed, especially when your job can be done by someone with a much lower cap hit. In Morrisonn’s case, his spot on the blue line can be taken by either Mike Weber or Marc-Andre Gragnani. Kotalik’s spot at forward was the most flexible one to be taken as the Sabres have a host of younger players to fill their needs on the wings on their third and fourth lines.

Both Kotalik and Morrisonn came into training camp hoping to prove they could stick with the big team. With the cap crunch being as hard as it was for the Sabres, both players would’ve needed to show above and beyond in camp that they belong in the NHL. While they might’ve been doing that, getting their salaries off the cap and into the AHL makes too much sense for Buffalo. By dumping those two players into the AHL, the Sabres can now get under the cap by nearly $1.5 million. It might not be great business, but it’s how life is with the cap.

To see the full list of those who were waived today, TSN has the full list.