Huet Out; Theodore In as Caps near term Goalie
In a surprising turn of events Cristobal Huet supposedly reneged on a 3 year $15M contract deal with the Caps and has decided to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks. This opened the door for the Caps to sign the next best free agent goalie on the market in Jose Theodore who rediscovered his game in Colorado last season after several years of struggling. Theodore won the Vezina trophy while playing for Montreal in 2002.
Theodore reportedly signed a 2 year deal for $9M. While Theodore recently has not been as good as Huet, the Caps save money and time on this deal and this indicates to me that GM George McPhee fully expects 2006 first round draftee Semen Varlamov to be ready to take over the full time goaltending duties in 2010.
More on today’s events later, I hope to catch the conference call with McPhee and Theodore at 5pm.
Here are some quotes from McPhee from today’s afternoon press conference announcing the signings of Theodore and Green today:
“I like where we are right now and we’ll keep moving on”
“I’m pleased with Theodore..matched Huet’s demands & we requested $3.7M for 3yrs right after the season, we kept getting closer and closer…finally we met his demands for 3yrs at $5M a year then he decided to go the free agency route”
“Jose is excited to come here, he likes our team…we were interested in him last year at the trade deadline but the Avs were not looking to move him.”
“With the salary cap, making mistakes on goalie signings can hurt a team really bad”
“For a top 5 goalie it makes sense to try and sign them long term, otherwise it is best to go the short-term route.”
On Mike Green: “It is hard to find right handed defensemen, especially ones who can score goals like Mike.”
“In the salary cap era every contract you [execute] effects what you do overall.”
“We are going to work around the edges here in the next day or so but basically stick with the development of our young team.”
Here are my thoughts on the Theodore/Huet develoments:
It seems Huet is all about the money. Yes Chicago has an up and coming team but he will get buried in the Western Conference. Chicago could squeeze in to one of the last playoff spots next year but I don’t see them winning a playoff round, as they stand right now. Although signing Brian Campbell will help their team but at $7.1M a year that is a steep price to pay.
I like the Theodore signing because of the terms plus he was the only other legitimate #1 goalie on the market. I saw him play ALOT last year and he was very good on most nights. Colorado was a more wide open team than people think and he played well behind a makeshift defense that suffered alot of injuries down the stretch. He had Calgary’s number for most of the season last year. Believe it or not it was after a conversation Theodore had with Kelly Hrudey last season that got Jose’s mind right again and on the comeback trail. I mentioned this in one of my past blogs.
I think the Caps have to re-sign Shaone Morrisonn and then I’d like to see them add another defensemen because Brian Pothier sounds done due to injury. I will watch Karl Alzner next week and hope he is the real deal. All reports are that he is so the Caps top four defensemen next season could be Green, Tom Poti, Morrisonn, and Alzner unless McPhee pulls off a coup and gets Brooks Orpik which would really set things up well. Orpik or not, Jeff Schultz is a good #5 defensemen. So it would be nice if John Erskine and Milan Jurcina were bumped to having to fight for the #7 spot. I just don’t think they are solid NHL defensemen material.