35-Year-Old Left Wing – Free Agent
Kristian Huselius Contract Information:
Re-signed with the Flames in June of 2006, terms were not disclosed. Signed a four year, $19 million contract with Columbus in July 2008.
Huselius has signed with AIK of the Swedish Elite League, according to NBC Sports.
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Age is determined on October 1st of each season.
Kristian Huselius: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Kristian Huselius.
Huselius went from being injury-prone to outright health-averse last year, playing in just two games between a serious pectoral muscle tear and then a serious groin injury. The Blue Jackets will likely give the slick winger another chance to prove he can be productive simply because they need all the offense they can get this season, and Huselius has the skill to score, it's just a matter of if he will. The over-under on his games played is somewhere in the vicinity of his age (34 in November), and Gordie Howe he ain't.
The aging winger is becoming increasingly injury-prone, playing in just 39 games last season due to a hip injury and then tearing a chest muscle this offseason while rehabbing from the hip surgery. The pectoral tear could keep him off the ice until January. He's been a decent fit in Columbus as a pass-first compliment to Rick Nash on the top line, but his days as a Blue Jacket could be numbered if he can't stay healthy.
Huselius turned in a second solid season playing mostly alongside Rick Nash, using his creativity to top 60 points for the third time in four seasons (and first time in Columbus). It's hard to see him matching the 34 goals and 77 points he scored a few years ago unless the Blue Jackets find a true #1 center, but Huselius has skills enough to keep his production in the 50-55 point range even if Nikita Filatov's return shuffles the deck and bumps him off Nash's line.
Huselius was brought in to help cover up the Blue Jackets' lack of a playmaking center for Rick Nash by instead giving him a playmaking opposite wing, and Huselius filled that role quite well in 2008-09. His 21 goals and 56 points still weren't up to his Flames' standards, but he appears to be quite at home on Nash's line and assuming Derick Brassard continues to develop into a true No. 1 center, Huselius will be in a better position to try and match his 77-point output from 2006-07.
Huselius' numbers slipped a little from his career '06-'07, but he still racked up 25 goals and 66 points. The Blue Jackets plan to use his playmaking ability on Rick Nash's line, to help make up for the lack of a true #1 center. If Huselius sticks with Nash he should be in for another solid year, but if he doesn't skate with Nash Columbus doesn't have the talent elsewhere on their roster to get Huselius into the 60+ point range.
Much like Daymond Langkow, many critics slept on Huselius last season. The Swede made them pay, forming a great 1-2 punch with Langkow and picking up 34 goals and 43 assists. His second line actually outperformed the vaunted Conroy-Iginla-Tanguay line on the plus/minus, as both Langkow and him were the only forwards above plus-20. If addition Owen Nolan joins the second line and can continue to play well and stay healthy, the Flames could have one of the more potent second lines in hockey. Expect another 70-80 points from Huselius.
Huselius had a career season in 2005-06, as he caught fire after being traded to Calgary one-third of the way through the season (16 points in 13 games). However, a demotion to the second line seems to be on the horizon for him, which means no more Jarome Iginla. Huselius was having a rough time in Florida before being traded, so he could have a tougher time in 2006-07 without a great supporting cast.
Sometimes lost in the mix with all of the other young guns around, Huselius is hardly deserving of being overlooked. He possesses all of the tools needed to put up 25 goals and 60 points, but he hasn't come close to those totals in his career. Perhaps playing on an improved team with veteran leadership will aid in improving his sometimes questionable intensity.