Blackhawks sign free agents Campbell, Huet

The Chicago Blackhawks made a huge splash on the first day of NHL free agency, signing highly coveted defenceman Brian Campbell after more than doubling the salary of free agent goalie Cristobal Huet.

The Chicago Blackhawks made a huge splash on the first day of NHL free agency, signing highly coveted defenceman Brian Campbell after more than doubling the salary of free agent goalie Cristobal Huet. 

Campbell, 29, confirmed the deal to broadcaster TSN. A source told Canadian Press it is for $57.1 million US over  eight years.

Campbell posted career highs in assists (54) and points (62) last season. He was traded at the deadline in February to San Jose from Buffalo, where he had played his entire career.

The Strathroy, Ont., native has recorded 35 goals and 160 assists in 411 career regular season games. He earned $1.75 million US last season.

Huet received his raise despite being traded last season and never making it past the first round of the playoffs.

Huet was signed for four years and a total of $22.5 million US by the Blackhawks. He earned $2.75 million the past season playing with the Montreal Canadiens and then the Washington Capitals.

Huet, 32, was dealt by Montreal at the trade deadline to Washington to make way for Carey Price of the Canadiens. He appeared in a career-high 52 games during the season, posting four shutouts and a .920 save percentage, tied for sixth in the league.

Washington lost in seven games in the first round of the playoffs, with Huet posting a 2.92 average and .909 save percentage.

The Capitals were unable to match Huet's price and opted to sign José Théodore, last of the Colorado Avalanche, at $4.5 million per season.

Born in St. Martin D'Heres, France, Huet has 17 shutouts and a 2.43 goals-against average in 183 NHL games with Los Angeles, Montreal and Washington.

The Blackhawks have a promising core of young players led by NHL rookie of the year Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and defenceman Duncan Keith. Chicago last made the playoffs in 2002, the only time they've qualified in the past 10 seasons of play.