NHL Rumors: Cristobal Huet talks with Kings, Canucks about NHL return

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com
Huet played most recently for the 'Hawks in 2009-10. (Getty Images)

Cristobal Huet has spent the past two seasons playing in Europe after essentially being banished from the NHL by the Chicago Blackhawks. But this summer he has made it known that he wants to come back to the NHL and land with another team.

He's clearly confident it can happen. Here's what he recently told NHL.com.

"I still belong, I'm better than some other guys, and I'd like another shot," Huet said recently from Europe, adding his agent had talked to "a few" NHL teams. "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."

However, considering teams aren't exactly crawling over each other to get goaltenders this summer, it's no surprise there hasn't been much action in the more than a month that free agency has been open.

That doesn't mean there hasn't been any action, though, as his agent indicated in the above quote.

Right now, neither the Canucks nor Kings make a whole lot of sense for a backup goalie. That's right now. Before next season begins, though, they certainly each could have a spot to fill.

The Canucks' attempts to trade Roberto Luongo are well known. At some point you figure it has to happen, whether it happens before next season or not still has to be seen. So unless they get a decent goalie in return -- say, Jose Theodore from Florida -- they are going to find a backup somewhere to play behind Cory Schneider.

As for the Kings? Well they are in a similar situation. They have Jonathan Quick now locked up for a long time to come but their backup, Jonathan Bernier, is blocked and wants out. The Kings are in a spot just like the Canucks in that they don't have to make a trade and likely won't until they get the right deal. But when/if they do trade Bernier, the Kings will need somebody to spell Quick.

It's a little hard to imagine Huet getting another shot in the NHL. His name is almost in the same category as Scott Gomez for some people. Heck, in Chicago his name might be a swear word. His final season in Chicago was 2009-10 and Huet played in 48 games going 26-14-4 with a 2.50 goals against average but .895 save percentage. Eventually the team was turned over to Antti Niemi and the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.

Eventually Huet and his big contract were loaned to HC Fribourg-Gotteron in Switzerland, closer to his home country France. Now the final two years of his contract have expired and he is able sign a new deal in the NHL if anybody wants to offer him.

His numbers in Switzerland have been solid, particularly in 2011-12. He playe din 39 games posting a 1.99 goals against average and a .932 save percentage. That's obviously not NHL competition but still not bad. At 36 the question is if he could translate that back to the NHL if he's given the chance, perhaps in either Los Angeles or Vancouver.

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