NHL: What Options Are There For Cristobal Huet?

Ethan WatermanContributor IAugust 8, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 13:  Cristobal Huet #39 of the Chicago Blackhawks tends net against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center on March 13, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It was obvious from midway through last season. Cristobal Huet was not going to be the starting goalie for the Blackhawks come opening face-off in Colorado October 7. Now with the goalie situation sorted out, it has become clear that Cristobal won’t be playing for the Blackhawks any more. $5.6 million to sit on the bench? The Blackhawks kindly refuse. So what can Huet do?

I.   Play for Rockford and get his pay.
This is not exactly the most attractive option for Huet, but he will make his money. 5.6 million dollars is usually an offer that none can refuse. He won’t make that amount anywhere else. Despite that, Huet would have to clear waivers to be put into the AHL, and that could put Huet on another team. But, if Huet makes into the minors, he'll have to play against lower quality players, and would have to swallow his pride after playing in the NHL for the last 8 years.

II.   Ask to be released.
If Huet were to be released, he would get $1.8 million for the next two years. Basically, this is a pension for Huet, since he hasn't earned all of the money guaranteed in his contract. This could get Huet out of the Blackhawks hair, and with all the cap space that has been cleared up, Bowman could just wave goodbye to Huet. Obviously, if Huet were to enter free agency, he would have a hard time finding a job. However, in the case that Huet is snatched up off the free agent market, the Blackhawks would no longer have to pay Huet.

III.   Flee to Europe
If Huet wanted to play full time, he could return to his homeland, France, or go to other foreign leagues like the KHL and the Swedish Elite League. There should be some opportunities there, and if the price is right, Huet should go for it.

Obviously, Huet has a decision to make. It need not be made now or even next month. He has until October 7 to make it, and one way or another, he’ll still be making money. Cristobal is in the perfect place to be right now, and he can’t go wrong.