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Alexander Auld (born January 7, 1981) is a Canadianmarker professional ice hockey goaltender currently playing for the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League (NHL). Auld has also played for the Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, Phoenix Coyotes, Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators of the NHL. He has appeared internationally for Team Canada on three occasions – the 2001 World Junior Championships, the 2004 Spengler Cup, and the 2006 World Championships.

Playing career

Junior career

Auld started his junior career with the North Bay Centennials of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) at the tail end of the 1997–98 season, appearing in six games without registering a win. After appearing in 38 games the following season, Auld was selected in the second round, 40th overall, of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, by the Florida Panthers. Auld would finish out his junior career with the Centennials, spending two more seasons as their starting netminder. In his final season, Auld was named to Team Canada for the 2001 World Juniors, where he backed up Maxime Ouellet. Later that same season, Auld was traded to the Vancouver Canucks for a third round pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and a compensatory pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

Professional career

Auld turned professional in the 2001–02 season, joining the Canucks' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. An ankle sprain sidelined Auld during training camp, however, and upon his return he was assigned to the Columbia Inferno of the East Coast Hockey League. Solid play in six games at that level returned Auld to the AHL, where he showed steady improvement, despite competition for playing time from veterans Alfie Michaud and Wade Flaherty. Following injuries to Canucks goaltenders Dan Cloutier and Peter Skudra, Auld got a start at the NHL level, a 4–2 victory over the Dallas Stars on January 23, 2002, after which he returned to the AHL.

The 2002–03 season afforded Auld more opportunity for growth, although he again split playing time at the AHL level, this time with Tyler Moss. With Cloutier and Skudra entrenched at the NHL level, Auld still managed to appear in seven games as an injury-replacement, and even played one playoff game in relief. Most importantly, he received extensive playing time, and improved his statistics considerably.

Alex Auld during his tenure with Vancouver.
During the off-season, backup Pēteris Skudra signed with a Russian team, raising the possibility that Auld might claim the backup role for the Canucks. As the 2003–04 season approached, however, Canucks GM Brian Burke traded a draft pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Johan Hedberg, all but ensuring Auld another season in the minors. Again, Auld began the season sharing netminding duties with Tyler Moss. Auld again saw brief NHL action, appearing in six games. However, during the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Dan Cloutier was injured early on in the Canucks' first round series with the Calgary Flames. Hedberg, who had been shaky as a backup, failed to impress coach Marc Crawford in two appearances, and Auld claimed the starting role in Game 5, pushing Calgary the distance in the series, eventually losing in the seventh game.

Auld spent the 2004–05 NHL lockout back with the Manitoba Moose, this time pairing with veteran netminder Wade Flaherty. Despite holding on to the starting role for much of the season, Auld disappointed in the playoffs, and Flaherty took over as starter, helping the team reach the third round of the Calder Cup playoffs. He also appeared for Canada at the Spengler Cup in December 2004, carrying the team to a third place finish.

Auld returned to the NHL when play resumed for the 2005–06 season, initially as the backup to Dan Cloutier. However, on November 20, 2005, Cloutier injured an ACL in a collision with Mighty Ducks of Anaheim forward Rob Niedermayer. The hope initially was that the injury would heal during the season, but on December 15, Cloutier opted for surgery, leaving Auld as Vancouver's starting goaltender. He would not play in another game for the Moose, leaving the AHL team as its franchise leader in wins and shutouts.

As the Canucks' starter, Auld was re-united with former World Junior teammate Maxime Ouellet, who was one of three goaltenders the Canucks used to back him up (Mika Noronen and Rob McVicar were the others). Filling in admirably, Auld went on to capture the Cyclone Taylor trophy as team MVP, although the Canucks would miss the playoffs. Auld then joined Team Canada again, this time at the 2006 World Championships, where Canada finished a disappointing 4th, losing the bronze medal game to Finland.

In June 2006, Auld was involved in a multi-player trade that sent him, Todd Bertuzzi, and Bryan Allen to Florida for Roberto Luongo and Lukáš Krajíček, and a sixth round draft pick. Initially, Auld was expected to be the undisputed starter in Florida. However, the July 25 signing of Ed Belfour introduced some competition, and Belfour eventually won the job as starting goalie. Controversially, in October, Auld was hospitalized while "horsing around" with Belfour, with suspicions that Belfour had assaulted him.

After an unsuccessful season with Florida, Auld signed a one-year contract with the Phoenix Coyotes on August 13, 2007. However, on a team with already with a wealth of goaltenders — Auld would compete for a job with David Aebischer and Mikael Tellqvist at the beginning of the season — Phoenix would pick up Ilya Bryzgalov off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks, leaving Auld as one of the odd goalies out. After nine appearances with Phoenix, on December 6, 2007, Auld was traded to the Boston Bruins for right winger Nate DiCasmirro and the Bruins' 5th round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Playing backup to Tim Thomas for the majority of 2007–08, Auld would post the best statistics of his career (excluding his first few seasons with the Canucks, in which he appeared in no more than seven games in a season) with a personal-best 3 shutouts.

Auld during his time with the Senators.
On July 1, 2008, Auld signed a two-year, $2 million deal with the Ottawa Senators as an unrestricted free agent. He came within one second of recording a shutout in his Senators debut against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Stockholmmarker, Swedenmarker, surrendering a powerplay goal in the final moments of the game. Though Senators' management expected him to serve primarily as a backup to Martin Gerber, Auld's strong play combined with Gerber's struggles resulted in Auld assuming the starting position early in the season. As the season progressed, Gerber was placed on waivers and ultimately was claimed by the Toronto Maple Leafs, while rookie Brian Elliott would split the goaltending duties with Auld in Ottawa. He was expected to challenge for the starting position in 2009–10 with Pascal Leclaire, acquired by Ottawa from the Columbus Blue Jackets late at the 2008–09 trade deadline, but was traded in the off-season on July 8, 2009, to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a 6th round draft pick in 2010.

Personal life

Auld was born in Cold Lake, Albertamarker when his father was stationed out of CFB Cold Lakemarker. However, he spent the majority of his adolescence in Thunder Baymarker, Ontariomarker.

Auld's wife is celebrity handbag and jewelry designer Melanie Auld. The couples first son, Sam Alexander Auld, was born on January 5, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts. The couple owns a home in the Thunder Bay area.

Awards



Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP W L T OT MIN GA SO GAA SV% GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1997–98 Sturgeon Falls Lynx NOJHL 11 4 6 0 611 46 0 4.52
1997–98 North Bay Centennials OHL 6 0 4 0 206 17 0 4.95 .872
1998–99 North Bay Centennials OHL 37 9 20 1 1894 106 1 3.36 .899 3 0 3 170 10 0 3.53
1999–00 North Bay Centennials OHL 55 21 26 6 3047 167 2 3.29 .891 6 2 4 374 12 0 1.93 .950
2000–01 North Bay Centennials OHL 40 22 11 5 2319 98 1 2.54 .917 4 0 4 240 15 0 3.75 .883
2001–02 Columbia Inferno ECHL 6 3 1 2 375 12 0 1.92 .927
2001–02 Manitoba Moose AHL 21 11 9 0 1104 65 1 3.53 .881 1 0 0 20 0 0 0.00 1.000
2001–02 Vancouver Canucks NHL 1 1 0 0 60 2 0 2.00 .909
2002–03 Manitoba Moose AHL 37 15 19 3 2209 97 3 2.64 .908
2002–03 Vancouver Canucks NHL 7 3 3 0 382 10 1 1.57 .939 1 0 0 20 1 0 3.00 .800
2003–04 Manitoba Moose AHL 40 18 16 4 2329 99 4 2.55 .915
2003–04 Vancouver Canucks NHL 6 2 2 2 348 12 0 2.07 .929 3 1 2 222 9 0 2.43 .898
2004–05 Manitoba Moose AHL 50 25 18 4 2763 118 2 2.56 .909 3 0 2 128 7 0 3.29 .860
2005–06 Vancouver Canucks NHL 67 33 26 6 3859 189 0 2.94 .902
2006–07 Florida Panthers NHL 27 7 13 5 1470 82 1 3.34 .888
2007–08 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 9 3 6 0 508 30 1 3.54 .880
2007–08 San Antonio Rampage AHL 2 1 1 0 119 5 1 2.53 .906
2007–08 Boston Bruins NHL 23 9 7 5 1213 47 2 2.32 .919
2008–09 Ottawa Senators NHL 43 16 18 7 2449 101 1 2.47 .911
NHL totals 183 74 75 2 23 10292 473 6 2.76 .905 4 1 2 242 10 0 2.48 .892


International play

Played for Team Canada in:



References

  1. Manitoba Moose roster for 2001–02 Season
  2. The Sports Forecaster 2005–06, p. 101
  3. Manitoba Moose press release
  4. Cloutier's injury history
  5. Canucks Acquire Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek & Sixth Round Pick In 2006 Draft From Florida In Exchange For Allen, Auld & Bertuzzi
  6. Nov. 2, 2006 National Post article


External links




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