Habsworld: The Surprising Emergence of Jaroslav Halak

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Habster’s take:

I definitely agree with T.C. Denault that Jaroslav Halak shouldn’t be discarded as #3 on the goaltending depth chart for the upcoming season. I would rather see the Canadiens keep Halak over Huet as the latter is not as technically sound as Halak who is always square to the shooter and doesn’t drop to his knees too early which Huet has a tendency to do. Unfortunately, Huet’s contract ($2.875 million average cap amount for 2007-08) will not help Halak’s chances as he will make only $500,000 this season and can pass through waivers on the way to Hamilton ( as can Carey Price).

The other option for Bob Gainey would be to trade Huet at the trade deadline when his salary would be easier for teams to digest in this NHL salary cap world. If Huet has a decent first half of the season then a team needing a capable goaltender for the playoff drive might be willing to part with a roster player or a 1st or 2nd round pick in next year’s draft. With Huet becoming a UFA next season and the Price/Huet tandem waiting in the wings, it seems like an easy decision to unload Mr. Huet in February when Price will have had 30-40 starts in Hamilton. I know Cristobal Huet fans are screaming at their computer screens right now but let’s be honest here Huet fan club members: Bob Gainey will not resign a 32 year old goalie who will want $3-$4 million per season when he has a franchise type goaltender with as much potential as Carey Price!!!!!( who’s making $850,000 per season for 3 years).

In the end, unless Carey Price stands on his head at this year’s training camp/pre-season (which is always possible with what he has already accomplished in his short hockey career), then I can see the Canadiens keeping Huet and Halak to start the season with Price getting more AHL experience in Hamilton. It will certainly be an interesting scenario later in the season to see what transpires with the Habs goaltending situation.