When Canadiens GM Bob Gainey traded Christobal Huet to the Washington Capitals the main complaint from media and fans alike was the best he could get in return was a second round draft pick. Two years later, the Chicago Black Hawks could get nothing for him. Looking for relief on their bloated salary cap situation, today shipped him back to Europe.
A Swiss website (20min.ch) reports that Huet will play for Fribourg-Totteron of the Swiss League. Chicago will still be responsible for most of the 5.65 million dollars for each of the remaining two years on his Chicago contract. However, after Huet clears NHL waivers, the contract won’t be added to their salary cap total. Fribourg is expected to contribute between 300 and 600 thousand swiss francs (288 to 576,000 US$),towards his contract.
When Gainey traded Huet at the deadline two years ago Huet was on the verge of becoming an unrestricted free agent. He played out the 2007-2008 season with Washington and then got the rich and often regretted four year 22.5 million dollar contract from the Black Hawks. Huet was in the Chicago nets for a total of twenty minutes during the Hawks 22-game march to their championship. He still becomes the first French-born player to have his name etched on the Stanley Cup.
For Fribourg, this is a good deal. Because Huet is married to a Swiss citizen, along with not having to pay his salary, he does not count against the Swiss league quota of four foreign nationals per team.
He played four years with Lugano of the Swiss league before beginning the North American portion of his career. In Fribourg, he’ll be replacing former NHLer Sebastian Caron who has transfered to the KHL for the coming season.
Earlier this month, Glen Metropolit signed with Zug of the Swiss League after completing his contract with the Canadiens.
Had the Black Hawks elected to enter the 2010-2011 season with last season’s goaltending, they would have taken up 7.40 million dollars (Huet-5.65m, Antti Niemi-2.75m). By refusing the arbitration decision on Niemi and jetisoning Huet in favour of Marty Turco (1.3m) and Corey Crawford (800K) the Hawks are able to get five and a half million dollars in cap relief. Before today’s transaction Chicago was 4.1 million dollars over the limit.
Still in cap trouble are Boston (3.087 million over), Vancouver (2.658 million) and Calgary (2.349 million). The Canadiens have 4.28 millions in remaining cap space with Carey Price yet to be signed.