Now that the Chicago Blackhawks have parted ways with goaltender Antti Niemi(notes), the next bullet point on general manager Stan Bowman's summer checklist is what to do with Cristobal Huet(notes) and his $5.625 million contract.
The talk of demoting Huet to the American Hockey League has been the main topic surrounding the Blackhawks goaltender, and as his agent told Craig Custance of the Sporting News, both sides are working together towards a resolution that suits everyone:
"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see the price he's earning versus the conditions in the NHL make it tough," [agent Stephen] Bartlett told Sporting News. "I haven't given up. I realize the end of the line may come at some point."
Bartlett described his relationship with the Blackhawks as partners working together to find a reasonable destination for Huet, who continues to handle a difficult situation with his usual class.
"They've been very good in saying, if we can come up with any deals, ideas or solutions to our problem, they will work closely with us," Bartlett said. "I think they'd look at almost anything that would give them cap relief."
If the number of NHL suitors is about zero and Huet's agent still wants to receive his commission checks, then the Blackhawks working out an agreement with a European team will be in the cards. There's no shortage of KHL teams that wouldn't love to bring on an NHL-caliber goaltender that isn't nearing retirement age.
Custance also points out that an AHL demotion for Huet would only work if a re-appearance on an NHL roster would come sooner rather than later. At his hefty salary with two years left on his contract, that's a lot to ask for mostly cap-strapped NHL teams.