Friday, May 09, 2008

2007-08 Rink Wrap: Cristobal Huet

From Backstrom to Steckel, we're taking a quick look at and grading the 2007-08 season for every* player who laced 'em up for the Caps during the campaign (and is still with the team) with an eye towards 2008-09. Next up, Cristobal Huet.

Contract Status: UFA; 2007-08 cap number of $2.875M
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 33
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): 4+
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 52 games played, 32-14-6 record, 4 shutouts, 2.32 GAA, .920 SV% (13 GP, 11-2-0, 2 SO, 1.63 GAA, .936 SV% for Washington)
Key Stats: Huet ended the regular season on a 9-0-0 run during which he posted a 1.52 GAA, a .941 save percentage and allowed only seven even strength goals.
Surprising(ly random) Stat: Huet played the most games of any goalie who didn't commit a single penalty all season (I guess it took Daniel Briere to bring out the goon in Cristo)

The Good: Over the full season, only one goalie (Jean-Sebastien Giguere) had both a better GAA and SV% than Huet. Read that again and let it sink in. Here's another jaw-dropper for you - Huet won the highest percentage of games played of any goalie in the League with more than 43 appearances (and only the two Detroit goalies had a better percentage if you lowered the games played requirement to two). Over the course of the season, Huet never lost more than three straight games (he only did that twice), only gave up more than three goals in back-to-back starts once and was 10-1-1 in games in which he faced fewer than 25 shots on goal (5-0-0 with the Caps). He became the first Caps goalie with nine straight wins since Pete Peeters won nine in a row from January 28 to March 3, 1987, and set personal career highs in games played, minutes and wins (and points, with two).

The Bad: If you want to claim that Huet should have made a couple more saves in Game Two and/or Three of the Flyers series, have at it. And I guess to fill up some space here, I'll mention that he missed time this season with a groin injury (five games in December of 2007) and back spasms (one game this past March), which go along with two more serious injuries in the two previous seasons (18 games with a knee injury in 2005 and a twenty game season-ending hamstring injury in 2007).

The Ridiculous (special bonus feature!): 57% of you wanted to see him benched for Game Four of the Flyers series. For shame.

The Vote: Rate Huet on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential for the season after he was traded to the Caps - if he had the best 13+ games you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst 18 games you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.

The Question(s): Potentially an unrestricted free agent come July 1, how much (dollars and years) should the Caps be willing to commit to Huet (the numbers speak for themselves, but so to do the injuries, his age, and the fact that he has never played more than 52 games in a season)? If he is back, what will it take for him to earn a 10 next year?

If you've missed any of the previous 2007-08 Rink Wraps, click here, get caught up, and vote - polls will stay open for a while.

* And by "every," we mean every one who played more than just a handful of games.


JP said...

Ironic timing on this post, eh?

NS said...

the post-season would not have happened without him. PERIOD.

maruk said...

57% + #37

Tyler said...

You play to win the game. There's no question whatsoever that Huet wasn't just the Caps' best option late in the year, he was probably the best option in the league (as JP so smartly documents).

Which makes that 57% number befuddling. Some people vote with their heart not their mind.

Tyler said...

Next year, Huet: 3/$18M seems fair. The question is will OTT come in and offer him 4/$26 or something. (And will they have the cap room to carry something like $10M+ in goalies next year? Too early to tell.)


1) Huet has to be given significant credit for getting the Caps into the post season. He wasn't spectacular in a couple of the playoff games, but certainly not the reason for any of the 4 losses.
2) He garnered a 9. You could not have expected much more, and its imperative he's resigned else the caps' rebuild' will take a significant hit if you look at the possible alternatives in goal
3) He probably can't play 65-70 games, but with Johnny looking quite capable last season GMGM/Gabby should feel comfortable playing Huet 55 or so games and BJ in 25
4) As for compensation. With a dearth of capable starters available this summer in the UFA pool, Huet can expect a very handsome raise with either the Caps or any number of potential suitors starting with Ottawa. We'd say that it will take about a 6 mil cap hit to secure his services. Probably the Caps would be OK with that. The issue may be number of years. Three would be preferable. CH may request 5. Would 4 be a good compromise?

~Mark said...

I gave him 1 of the 2 10s I'd give out (the other to some schlep with 65 goals) for the team. Huet was the key to getting in, and making a series of it. No Huet = No playoffs...period!
Do we want him, absolutely. Can we afford him, yes. How long we want to afford him is where I see there being any trouble in this process. Ideally, I'd only want to ink him for 3 years, to give one of the youngsters enough (but not too much) time to get used to the NA pro game. Huet, however, may see this as his last chance at a big contract, and may want to milk it for the longest term possible. I'd say no more than a 4 year deal. If he demands more (unlikely), we may be hitting the MASS HYSTERIA button. To earn another 10 next year, just play like you did at the end of the season, and stay healthy.

exwhaler said...

I think 4 years would work out best with both parties, and I think the Caps could get him to sign for around $5 million (essentially Olie's old salary). Sometimes, it's hard to predict free agents, because where that player signs ultimately depends on what kind of situation he's looking for. The Caps have a leg up on some other suitors, as Huet himself has acknowledged, and he doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who will simply sign for the most dough. If McPhee offers what Huet considers a fair deal (not necessarily the best), he'll stay.

Oh, and I was one of the ones who voted for Kolzig to start a game, simply so I could see him shotput Briere the first time the little twirp tried to run him.

Tyler said...

Just to provide the frame of reference: Kolzig's cap number in 07-08 was $5.45 million.

Team most likely to be interested in Huet: OTT. Perhaps CBJ, but that doesn't seem realistic.

breed16 said...


4 years $5.5 million per LOCK IT UP.

Anonymous said...

I gave him a 6, his lowest score... as a goalie you have to win in the playoffs. NHL playoffs have been coined "goalie" and seeing we lost to martin biron im not that high on huet. If you really think huet is a 10 like every one is voting we would still be playing. Huet let in softies all playoffs and couldnt get us out of the 1st round.

and i was one of the people to vote to start olie in game 4, because huet was getting pushed around like a little girl.

I do want Huet resigned, but if he isnt no big deal.

Sean Hogan said...

10 for regular season, 8 for playoffs, 9 total.

3 years 6 mil per. Make it happen, GMGM


1) Anonymous: Can understand your position about the playoffs, but:
a) Without Huet the Caps don't even get in
b) Its not supposed to be the goalie that prevents getting 'pushed around'. Its up to the officials and your teammates.
2) Huet didn't play ConnSmythe caliber goal, but he was hardly the reason why the Caps didn't win

Sean Hogan said...

If Huet isn't resigned, we're stuck with Johnson/free agents and none of those names are looking very good right now.

bigonetimer said...

I rated him a 9. My one nitpick with Huet's game is that he is not very good handling the puck. Other than that, he was spectacular for us. Sign his ass now, 'cause there really isn't much out there:

dmg said...

I doubt Columbus will have any interest in Huet - LeClaire did very well for them this year.

I see possible suitors being Ottawa, Los Angeles and Colorado, all teams with pretty deep pockets.

However, Huet said he wants to stay. I suggest (if it's affordable) either a 4 year deal worth ~22 million or a 3 year deal worth ~18. I think if it's structured right it would be enough to keep him D.C. and I think the length is right because I doubt any of the prospects will be ready to start for at least a couple more years.

Marky Narc said...

Huet gets a 9. He played some amazing hockey once we acquired him. He throughly deserves to be on the roster next season - and apparently he wants to stay here, so that's even better.

So... I'm guessing the goaltending pair for 08-09 is going to be Huet/Johnson? Or do the Caps do something like flip a mid-round draft pick for a different backup? Say, someone along the lines of an Alex Auld or Peter Budaj - someone you would feel comfortable getting 30-35 starts next season. I don't think it's time to give that kind of a workload to a Neuvirth/Machesney/Varlamov.

He deserves a 2-year contract making money similar to what he made this season.

Ogre said...

I've 0 problems with BJ backing up Huet next year. Huet got my 10. I voted for Kolzig to start game 4, btw, because I thought the team needed that edge, and I'm still not sure it would have been a terrible decision. Huet worked for games 5-6 though.

I like Huet a ton, and I said after he shut us out with Montreal, I wouldn't be too surprised or sad to see him be our opening day starter next year. At this point, I'd be sad not to.

Rage said...

Is there anything stopping us from signing him to a long term deal (say 5-6 years)? Signing him for only 3-4 places a definite timetable on a very volatile commodity.

If he was to sign for 5 years and then Varlamov or Nuevirth is ready...Price/Halak v2.0.

exwhaler said...

>>"I doubt Columbus will have any interest in Huet - LeClaire did very well for them this year.

I see possible suitors being Ottawa, Los Angeles and Colorado, all teams with pretty deep pockets.<<<

That's correct on LeClaire--Columbus is currently trying to lock him up right now (he's an RFA).

Of those suitors, Ottawa and Colorado are probably the biggest competitors for Huet right now. The Kings have Jonathan Bernier on the fastrack (he played 4 games for 'em this year), so they'll be looking for a veteran to start in the short-term rather than someone to take over for the next four to six seasons. They'll also have to find a taker for Cloutier, who has one year left on his $3.1 million contract. They'll probably be looking at the guys left over from the Huet sweepstakes--like Theodore and, if he's interested, Kolzig.

JP said...

I'd rather a shorter deal, even if it means more bucks. His injury history scares me a bit. I think 3-4 years will be plenty and we can reasses at that point.

Of course, the incentive on his part to sign a deal that will expire when he's 36/37 isn't really there.

dmg said...

I agree with JP - the thought of a 38 year old Huet, along with Neuvirth, Varlamov and Machesney (if he winds up being as good as this season suggests he can be) in their mid 20's doesn't do anything for me. I think the only reason to sign Huet to a 6+ year contract if it's the only way to keep him in D.C. . . . and even then it'd require some serious thought

NS said...

quote of the day, from WCSN's broadcast of Russia/Belarus game:

*Semin falls on his ass*
*broadcasters look at replay*

"oh, Semin STEPPED on the puck [insert awkward silence]"

breed16 said...

Is there such a thing as option years on NHL contracts? This seems an excellent case where throwing a team option on to the end of the deal would work in our favor. Or even a player option (though not as ideal).

dmg said...


per page 50 of the NHL's CBA:

[Player contracts] shall not contain any option clause or voidable year, whether automatic, optional, or otherwise.

CBA can be viewed here (it's a 2 MB pdf file)

Anonymous said...

(different anonymous)
I've never post here, but I've thought ever since Montreal dumped his French derriere that he might not have the stomach for playoff action.

I'm not saying he proved it in Round 1, but he didn't disprove it.

Tyler said...

@ dmg: I'm with you. I dig Leclaire. Who wouldn't, and I'm sure they'll re-sign him. But there's something about Ken Hitchcock that screams "wanna have a veteran G, especially in the spring."

usually frustrated caps fan said...

$15M - $17.5 for 3 years is what the offer should be looking at what other goalies are making. If someone offers him $18 for 3 years the Caps should counter with $13 for 2 years or stick with $17.5 for 3 with performance incentives for Wins, Making Playoffs, Playoff Wins and the Vezneia.

gg said...

I wont say anything regarding his potential salary/number of years, but I'd just like to add that Huet is also a great teammate.
Everybody said so in Montreal when he left. Look at his answers after a win or a loss: he never misses an opportunity to give credit to his teammates after a win, and he never escapes his responsibilities after a loss.
Great guy.