The Huet 'Conundrum'

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What to do with Cristobal Huet? Many people say trade him away at the deadline, some say let him go at the end of the season in case we do make a playoff run, some (although few) say get Price starting right NOW.

While all of these people have valid points, I believe that trading Huet will be a gamble no mater what.

According to Montreal has $2.124M in cap space. Huet is a $2.875M cap hit. Although I do not want to see it happen, I strongly believe that Huet will be traded by the deadline and the reigns will be handed over to Price and Halak/Danis. Barring some monster season (GAA under 2 and a save % above .930) I think Huet will be gone. I seriously doubt that Huet will go anywhere but to a Western Conference team, likely one of these 5 teams:
San Jose (For a SOLID backup for Nabokov)
Los Angeles (If miraculously they are in the playoff race)
Detroit (If Osgood/Hasek goes down)
Minnesota (If Backstrom can’t keep playing the way he has been)
Columbus (Huet would be a better backup than Norena)
I’ll quickly break down some of my possible deals between each of these teams.
San Jose Sharks
This would be a deadline deal for sure. San Jose is considered by many to be a serious cup contender, and if they are living up to those expectations in March look for them to pursue a backup goalie or some insurance in case of a Nabokov injury. The Sharks are sitting on $8.208M in cap space, so Huet ‘s $2.875M hit will not be too great of an impact. Montreal and San Jose have worked out deals before (i.e. the Craig Rivet deal) and I would not be surprised to see them go at it again. I can also see the Sharks trying to go after Michael Ryder in order to provide some strong secondary scoring, and it would not be a long term gamble for them to take on both of these guys, with them becoming UFAs at the end of they year. Unfortunately I also see Bob wanting to get rid of one of the most underrated guys on the Habs in Josh Gorges. Now to a possible deal, and unlike many, I won’t waste your time with another Marleau fantasy.
Possible trade:
To San Jose: Cristobal Huet, Michael Ryder, Josh Gorges, (1st) or (2nd and/or 3rd round pick)
To Montreal: Steve Bernier
Montreal can afford to send away a draft pick for once. Our system has drafted some excellent prospects (i.e. Chipchura, Kostitsyn, Kostitsyn, Grabovski, Latendresse, Plekanec, Lapierre, D’Agostini, Locke, Carle, McDonagh, O’Byrne, and Valentenko) and it would be worth it to try to grab Bernier from the Sharks. Although the Sharks are likely unwilling to move
Bernier, this deal could be too good to pass up as they’d have a short term boost and a good set of picks for the future. Bernier, who is a 225 lb power forward with a scoring touch, is exactly what Montreal is looking for. Montreal would likely have the same option that they had with Rivet, which is to resign either Ryder or Huet, or even both if desired.
Los Angeles Kings
In my opinion the least likely trade partner of the 5 mentioned, Los Angeles would need what would be, in my mind, a miracle to still be involved in the playoff picture by the deadline. So if Montreal were to trade to L.A., I could see it happening sooner rather than later. Remember that I said this is the least likely especially with the Kings seeming completely unwilling to move ANY young talent.
Possible trades:
To Los Angeles: Cristobal Huet
To Montreal: J.S. Aubin, 2nd round pick
The deal is a stretch, but J.S. Aubin would not be a factor in Montreal, he’d simply be an emergency 4th goalie, and would likely be placed on waivers upon acquisition. Including him in the deal is simply to keep roster sizes the same and to dump a tiny bit of salary ($.525M)
To Los Angeles: Cristobal Huet
To Montreal: 2nd round pick, 6th round pick
I’m taking into consideration what Crawford said about the team’s prospects so I’m not including them in deals. This is why I find both of these to be highly unlikely because Montreal will obviously be looking for a young(ish) power forward to contribute immediately.
Detroit Red Wings
Hasek and Osgood, at 42 and 34 years old respectively, are not exactly the most durable goaltenders, and if either of them goes down for a long period of time, especially Hasek, look for them to make a move for Huet. I don’t see the Wings winning the Forsberg sweepstakes, so they’d still have $2.544M in cap space. This means that they’d have to dump a player on Montreal who has little or no value to them, like Zetterberg…just kidding. I can’t tell when or even if Hasek or Osgood will go down, but when/if it does happen, expect a flurry of activity from the Wings’ camp.

Possible Trade:

To Detroit: Cristobal Huet
To Montreal: Valtteri Filppula, 5th or 6th round pick
Filppula, who brings with him a cap hit of $.733M would clear enough room for the much needed Huet. Montreal would possibly be able to get a bargain from the Wings and bring in the 23 year old Finnish Center, along with a low draft pick. This would be an example of a deal in which I’d expect Montreal to re-sign Huet when he becomes a UFA, as he wouldn’t be in the Wings’ long term plans. Note* I would have included a Swedish player coming from Montreal, but we don’t have any!
Minnesota Wild
I’ve got to admit I’m living out a fantasy by writing this, so dismiss it if you wish, but I’d love to see two Koivu’s on the Habs roster. I believe that Saku’s 24 year old brother has a tremendous upside, and that he’d be an amazing fit in Montreal. Montreal would have to give up much more than Huet alone unless Backstrom goes down or struggles, but even then Montreal would have to send a lot over. I know he (Koivu) has been locked up long term, and this deal is by far the most NHL 2008ish, but let me dream!
Possible trade:
To Minnesota: Cristobal Huet, Michael Ryder, 2nd round pick, 3rd round pick in 09
To Montreal: Mikko Koivu, Cal Clutterbuck, Keith Carney
Now you see why this is fantasy… Trying to work out a possible deal with Minnesota is a nightmare, so I don’t see how the two GMs could manage it. Carney is in there because he free up cap spcae for the Wild, and Clutterbuck is there because: A)He’s a decent 19 year old prospect and B)I like his name. Bottom line, this won’t happen but hey, it was fun to think up.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Leclaire has been impressive, recording I believe 4 shoutouts in 7 starts, but I’m not so eager to jump on his band wagon. Remember Brian Boucher? Mr 5 shutouts + a few minutes in a row? Now where has he ended up? Honestly I want to know… I think he’s a UFA but I honestly have no clue. What I’m saying is that the 27 year old Leclaire could easily falter if the Jackets were to lose a D-man, and then the Jackets would find themselves right back where they were last year. With their mammoth $8.929M in cap room, Columbus could easily fit Huet on to their roster. This is the team that Montreal stupidly gave Ron Hainsey to, so I’d be wary if I was Gainey.
Possible trade:
To Columbus: Cristobal Huet, 1st or 2nd round pick
To Montreal: Nikolai Zherdev
Now I know at the outset people may not like this deal(from either Columbus’ point of view or Montreal’s…), but I think that Zherdev could fit well into Montreal. His rookie season was no fluke, and if playing with the right guys I think he would fit well into Montreal. Now I’m not certain about how Columbus management is feeling about Zherdev right now, but if they are frustrated with him Montreal would likely be able to give up only a little bit to bring him in. However I doubt Montreal would escape with anything lower than a 2nd. It’s one of those rare cases where you WA
NT to bring in somebody who is struggling. The problem with Zherdev is the salary he brings with him in 08/09 ($3.250M), yet it could be a steal for Montreal because this guy is still only 22 years old.
Remember ALL of these deals are not sourced, they are simply my ideas if Montreal does decide to trade away Huet, which I hope they don’t do. In fact I hope they re-sign him, but that’s beside the point because I see management shipping him out or letting him go.
Now I know you read my articles all the time Mr. Gainey, so please feel free to accept my advice…

29 Responses to The Huet 'Conundrum'

  1. papichulo71 says:

    Columbus has Leclaire

  2. Rico420 says:

    I don't know man but I'm pretty sure we're not going to pry Koivu out of Minnesota for Huet.


  3. beleafer89 says:

    you know if you read the full article you'd realize his reasoning for the columbus trade offer, I'm not going to tell you his reasoning I'll let you go back and figure it out

  4. nordiques100 says:

    huet is solid. whats the point in rushing price? let huet take hte brunt of the pressure so that price can come in and just do his thing, instead of being rushed to number 1 status and asked to carry this team right now.

    minny has josh harding. he is fine as backup to backstrom. and by what we have seen, backstrom seems like hte real deal. the wild are cost conscience, they wont trade good youth for such a big salary.

    columbus is doing fairly well with leclaire. they dont need a 3 million dollar backup for him. their defensive system that hitch put in place is working very well and can thus live with norrena playing once every several games.

    LA needs goaltending, but they've been there done that with huet.

    Detroit usually going after a goalie that has actually won something or proven over a long stretch to be successful. they can actually live with ozzie in net because they are such a superior team and they have good chemistry with him.

    the sharks have bigger problems than goaltending. nabby is doing just fine and they dont need a backup. they need help everywhere else like coaching. they're not going to trade assets away for a position that is already strong.

  5. beleafer89 says:

    Good article, I like how you used realism in your post, like realizing how much Montreal would have to give for Bernier and how there is a good chance they would get "unfair" offers from teams like the Kings. The chances of any of these trades happening are slim though, because seriously what are the chances of one of us speculating a trade that actually happens without hearing any rumors first lol, but at least you were realistic about it

  6. habsrock99 says:

    I like the article for the most part. Some trades are outrageous (San Jose). Gainey's not one to throw away draft picks all willy nilly. Berniers good, don't get me wrong but not worth a 1st rounder, a proven 30 goal man, and a #1 goalie.

    Josh Gorges isn't an under-rated player, he's just barely qualified to be an NHL regular. I had this guy pegged last year as a perfect Montreal D-man because he could block shots. Well, he's done nothing to support that and he's been relatively bad in Montreal. Look at tonight's game, he coughed up the puck resulting in the potential winning goal. Thank God for Higgins' goal with 1:58 left in the 3rd.

    You may find this hard to believe but I see, if any of these teams do inquire about Huet, Los Angeles as the most likely destination for Huet.

    Norrena's a very good and capable goalie and for all we know, he could steal back his original #1 spot. I don't like Valterri Filppula and I seriosuly don't see him being an effective player for years to come, like others do. Also, I doubt Montreal would go after Zherdev because he apparently has an atitude much like Kovalev. But hey, if his attitude's like Kovalev's is now, GO FOR IT!!! lol.

    Also, 2 side notes.

    1: Pascal Leclaire is 24 not 27.

    2: Brian Boucher plays for the Flyers AHL team, the Philadelphia Phantoms.

  7. habsrock99 says:

    Just a little note. Montreal didn't let Columbus get Ron Hainsey, their used to be an unwritten rule about Prospects and waivers among Gm's, something Don MacLean broke which made him a semi-unpopular trading mate before the lock-out. Montreal was simply trying to send Hainsey back to the AHL for a little more seasoning, and MacLean swooped in like a vulture.

  8. TheStryker says:

    I think trading Huet could be a good idea. But I’m not sold on your trade partners. First off he has to go to a team who is in desparate need of a starting goalie, the only team you mentioned there that needs one is L.A. I also think that Ryder’s time in Montreal is up. I think Bob can come up with a nice package. Here are a few of my sugestions

    To Kings

    To Penguins

    Ryder,Huet,Grabovski,2nd rnd pick
    To Predators

  9. habswinthecup-again says:

     You want to give all that up just for Bernier, but you think you'll get Filpulla and a pick just for Huet, you are nuts!

  10. habsrock99 says:

    Man, the only one that makes sense is the Frolov one. Armstrong's not that great and that's waaay to much for just Dumont and Tootoo.

  11. habsoverserver says:

    I am looking at Huet's six games of playoff experience and asking myself what gm would covet him for the postseason.

  12. simplyhabby says:

    I have to tell you guys, as of now, I will take Huet over Price and Huet should be considered the number 1 going forward.

    Price is the future no doubt but the Habs need Huet to keep them in those one goal games.  Price still has a huge five hole to work one but is fantastic positionally and is a great cereberal goalie.

    If we have to trade Huet, package him up with Ryder and get that power forward for Ryder's wing.  Last night was a perfect expample.  I like to see Kovalev on that first line but we need on on the second line to blance the scoring meaning we need a PF for ryder's wing.

  13. darcysucker says:

    Let's just say if you were the GM of the habs we'd be in big trouble, kinda like when Houle was the GM

  14. habsgod says:

    all possibilities but i guess we'll have to wait and see what gainey has up his sleeve don't be surprised if it is something that none of us have heard of!but of our trade suggestions i think the columbus one makes the most sense!!

  15. Bruins24 says:

    good article, some of the trades make sense and some r a lil unrealistic but the only way i see Huet being dealt is if Montreal is out of it at the deadline and the want to look ahead to the future and give price his time. but as a bruins fan it pains me to say it lol but i see Montreal in the race all year so the only way i see the habs doing this is if they get a offer they cant refuse

  16. THEGREATHAB says:

    I do not see Huet going anywhere this season, or next for that matter. The Habs will bring Price along slow, start him 25-30 games this year, and 30-40 next, and then in the third year have Huet back-up Price if Price plays to expectations.
    This scenerio is exactly what the Habs did with Roy and Hayward, they split duties for a couple of years until Roy took over. Lets not forget that Price has yet to prove himself, and even if he had a decent year this year, will he be a one year wonder? I say lets hold on to Huet as long as possible, he will teach the youngsters and win some games for us.

  17. habsrock99 says:

    Huet won't stay if he isn't the #1. Also, do you really want to pay a goalie nearly 3 million dollars to play just 40 games? Especially when I'm sure you can get a more experienced one at half price. Also, Brian Hayward was a lot better and possibly more dependable then Huet is.

  18. MtlHabs09 says:

    Before I start I'd like to thanks you all for your replies. I found them to be very insightful and respectful, and I'm gonna go ahead and say that for a 'possible trade article' it has been received very well, and only a few people find these ideas ot be 'ridiculous'. Most of the time I find that these posts are completely torn apart, and this has done OK so far.
    Thanks to habsrock99 for informing me that Mr. Boucher now plays for the Phantoms. And thanks for the refreshment of Leclaire's age, I was going off of memory form TSN even though I had the Columbus roster in front of me…lol
    Thanks to beleafer89 for telling a certain papichulo71 to learn how to properly read an article. And thanks you for the comment about my "realistic" offers even though they might be "unfair" for Montreal.
    Clearing a few things up/counter arguments
    To habsoverserver,
    I understand your point about Huet's 6 games of playoff experience, but I did say that he would be playing a backup/emergency role on most of these teams for only a half season. Never did I say that he'd go to a franchise to become their new starter for years to come. And come to think of it, Leclaire's got 0 playoff starts, LaBarbera has 0, and Backstrom has 5… Now Huet's 6 doesn't look to shabby for a backup…
    To once again quote beleafer89, I was trying to make 'realisti' deals. San Jose will not give up Bernier cheap, no matter what, and I personally belive that is what we might have to give up to get him, he is in fact exactly what we need, a big strong powerforward who can put the puck in the net. I realize Filpula is a bit of a stretch but Detroit is stacked with talent and I would argue that thye have the best drafting system in NHL history. Take a look at their roster and how many they have drafted. Filpula could be replaced by their stellar set of rookies, and future rookies, that's how much confidence I have in the Wing's scouts.

  19. my_sphincter says:

    All CRAZY trades for Montreal!!!

    first of all
    Huet was an all-star last year

    You aren't giving Ryder any props.  He's better than most of the guys you mentioned.

  20. morrissey says:

    Well as Huet is a UFA at year end a lot of it comes down to what his asking price will be. Is the team better off with Huet/Price or with Price/Halak and a $3.5 million free agent signing at forward or defense? I believe the latter, but if Huet will sign for less then it changes the situation dramatically, if he wants a multi year deal that also changes things as Price should be the clear number one by 2009.

    Huet would be a nice rental addition for a playoff bound team, and getting some return on him and/or just clearing the cap space for next year are interesting propositions for Montreal… his not being with the team next year, one way or the other is a very real possibility.

  21. THEGREATHAB says:

    I think Huet would be happy to stay and play 40 games, I have no problem paying him 3mil for that, especially if our outher goalie makes less. Dont forget Brodeur and Kipper both make twice as much.
    I really have to disagree that Hayward was better and more dependable, the Roy /Hayward years were playing behind the best D in the league, where Huet has been playing behind a softer more inexperienced D in a more wide open NHL, and he made the allstar team. I would not underestimate Huet, he is the only reason the Habs made the playoffs 2 seasons ago, and were in second place up to christmas last year. Trading him now would definately hurt the team, he provides some experienced and proven goaltending to a relatively young but improving D, and some guidance for an extre,mely young goalie

  22. Duecey says:

    Why on earth would they want another goaltender in return? They Don't that's just it. I'd gladly trade him away for a 1st round pick or an uber prospect.

  23. Duecey says:

    LMFAO @ THEGREATHAB! Price as a backup for 2 years? Where have you been watching him play?

  24. prospectiv says:

    You must be out of your mind…  Cristobal Huet has been an all-star goaltender for the past 2 seasons and is so far this season.  The only point that lowers his values is the injuries he had so far.  How insulting for him to consider him as backup for those contending teams!

    And hey, do you really think Minnesota or Chicago would trade Gaborik or Havlat for a second round pick when they'll be on the last year of their contract???  Have you seen what teams gave for finished and useless players like Forsberg, Tkachuk and Guerin last year?!?!  Even Craig Rivet fetched a 1st round pick! 

  25. habsalicious says:

    So far Huet is better than Price. So far…

  26. habsalicious says:

    People really underestimate Huet. He's putting awesome numbers since the trade to Montreal. Very few goalies in the league match his numbers. Like you said, the only thing is the injuries.

    People are way to quick to pull the trigger. Got I hate Habs fans sometimes. And I'm one of them.

  27. billypilgrim says:

    I'm staring to doubt Gainey will risk trading Huet. Price is proving himself but if this team is still in playoff position come the trade deadline Huet will be a big part of that. Gainey's philosophy is all about builing from the net out and I think he'g got to be satisfied with that position the way it is. Huet likes it here so I think it's likely we'll be seeing him again next year.

  28. LaKingsFan626 says:

    Why would you trade him to LA for a bag of pucks and a pick?  I think we still have that bag from when we pretty much gave him away….I'm not sure if we still have all of the pucks though.

  29. MtlHabs09 says:

    Fine, here’s an offer your juvenille mind would probably like
    To Los Angeles: Cristobal Huet
    To Montreal: Alexander Frolov, Anze Kopitar

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