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Huet forgoes NHL return, signs with Swiss club

Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 12:32 PM / News


The waiting proved too hard -- and too long -- for Cristobal Huet.

Earlier this summer, Huet stated his intention to wait for a NHL goaltending job to open. Saturday, however, the French goalie signed a four-year deal with Swiss club Laussane, according to its website.

Huet has been in Switzerland for the past two years, on loan to HC Fribourg-Gotteron, after the Chicago Blackhawks parted with him in 2010 in order to obtain some salary-cap relief after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Final.

Huet started that season as Chicago's No. 1 goalie, but lost the job to Finnish rookie Antti Niemi, who led the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup since 1961.

During the summer, Chicago had to remake its roster to get under the cap, and after being unable to trade Huet, he was loaned to the Swiss club. Chicago also parted with Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg and Dustin Byfuglien.

Huet was hoping to land a backup job in the NHL for this season, but the market remains frozen at the moment. There was speculation that both the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings might have interest in Huet.

During eight seasons in the NHL, Huet made appearances with Los Angeles, the Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals and Chicago, posting a 129-90-32 record to go with a .913 save percentage in 272 games.

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery