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Dan Cloutier (born April 22, 1976) is a Canadianmarker professional ice hockey goaltender. In his 10-year National Hockey League (NHL) career, Cloutier played with the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, and Los Angeles Kings, spending the majority of his career in Vancouver.

Playing career

Minor and junior career

Cloutier spent most of his childhood growing up in Sault Ste.marker Marie, Ontariomarker, where he played minor hockey in the Sault Minor Hockey Association (NOHA) until 1990–91 with the Sault Carlucci Bantam AAA team whom he split goaltending duties with Marty Turco. As a 15-year old, Cloutier was signed by the St. Thomas Stars of the Junior B Western Ontario Hockey League (WOHL) where he played the 1991–92 season.

In May 1992, Cloutier was drafted 16th overall by his hometown Ontario Hockey League (OHL) team, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. After posting a 28-14-6 record with the Greyhounds in 1993–94, Cloutier was drafted by the New York Rangers 26th overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He remained in the OHL upon his draft and spent two more seasons with the Greyhounds, before being traded to the Guelph Storm at the start of the 1995–96 season. He helped lead Guelph to a 1996 Memorial Cup appearance after finishing as J. Ross Robertson Cup runner-up to the tournament hosts Peterborough Petes. Cloutier's final OHL season culminated in being named to the OHL Second All-Star Team and winning the Dave Pinkney Trophy with Guelph backup Brett Thompson for leading the Storm to the OHL's lowest team goals against average (GAA).

Early career (1996–2001)

Cloutier began his professional career in 1996–97 with the Binghamton Rangers of the American Hockey League (AHL), New York's minor league affiliate. He assumed the starting position in Binghamton as a rookie, posting a 3.55 GAA and .892 save percentage to be named to the AHL All-Rookie Team. He moved to the Hartford Wolf Pack in 1997–98 for the club's inaugural season and saw his first NHL action during a call-up with the New York. He appeared in his first NHL game on January 3, 1998, replacing Rangers starter Mike Richter just seven minutes into a game against the Washington Capitals. Cloutier stopped all 16 saves he faced to record his first NHL victory by a 3–2 score. He played 12 games total, backing Richter up for the remainder of the season, recording 4 wins, 5 losses and a tie with a 2.50 GAA and .907 save percentage. Perhaps his most well-known performance as a Ranger was a game against the New York Islanders on April 4, 1998, in which he fought opposing goalie Tommy Salo. With 6:59 remaining in a 3–0 loss, a fight broke out between the Rangers' P. J. Stock and Islanders' Mariusz Czerkawski. After Salo tried to intervene, Cloutier skated across the rink to fight Salo, continuously punching him in the back of the head before challenging the entire Islanders bench. The following season, Cloutier continued his role as Richter's backup and appeared in 22 games with a 2.68 GAA and .914 save percentage.

The following off-season, Cloutier was traded on the day of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft to the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 26 along with winger Niklas Sundstrom, a first-round selection (Nikita Alexeev) in 2000 and a third-round selection (subsequently traded) in 2000 for the Lightning's first-round selection (Pavel Brendl) in that year's draft. With the departure of Tampa Bay's previous starter Bill Ranford to the Detroit Red Wings and Darren Puppa in the twilight of his career, Cloutier assumed the starting position for his new club. He appared in 52 games for the Lightning in 1999–00, but recorded a dismal 9-30-3 record as the team finished second-last in the league. Cloutier's first season as an NHL starter was also interrupted on several occasions with numerous injuries and a suspension. He suffered a strained groin early in the campaign on November 18, 1999, forcing him out of two games. On January 14, 2000, he was suspended by the league for four games in another incident with the Islanders after kicking forward Tim Connolly in the head. The following month, he re-strained his groin on February 21 and missed four games. Cloutier missed another four games beginning on March 14 after injuring his neck. Finally, on March 28, he suffered his fourth injury of the season, straining his medial collateral ligament (MCL) and missing five games.

Injury troubles continued the following season, in 2000–01, as Cloutier was sidelined for nine games early in the season after straining his bicep on October 22, 2000. He then recorded his first NHL shutout soon after returning in a 3–0 blanking of the Detroit Red Wings on December 2, 2000. With Cloutier set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, however, and Kevin Weekes emerging as a capable goaltender, Cloutier was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for defenceman Adrian Aucoin and a second-round draft pick in 2001 on February 7, 2001.

Vancouver Canucks (2001–2006)

Cloutier with the Canucks in 2005.
Arriving in Vancouver, Cloutier was immediately established as the starter over veterans Bob Essensa and Felix Potvin (Potvin was later traded away to the Los Angeles Kings soon after Cloutier's acquisition), playing in 16 games to complete the regular season with a 2.43 GAA. He joined an emerging Canucks club led by such rising stars as Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Ed Jovanovski that made the playoffs for the first time in five years that season. Playing the first-seeded Colorado Avalanche in the first round, Cloutier made his first NHL post-season appearance in game one, stopping 23 of 28 shots in a loss. Having surrendered five goals, however, Essensa was given the start over Cloutier in games two and three. Cloutier was back in net in game four after Essensa suffered a knee injury, but could not prevent the Canucks from being swept in four games.

The following off-season, the Canucks re-signed Cloutier on July 18, 2001. In his first full season with Vancouver, he posted a 31-22-5 record with a 2.43 GAA and .901 save percentage. He notched his first shutout as a Canucks on October 13, 2001, in a 4–0 win against the Avalanche and finished the season with a team record seven shutouts (surpassed by Roberto Luongo in 2008–09 with nine). Near the end of the season, he was named the NHL player of the week on March 18, 2002. Despite a successful regular season, Cloutier's performance in the playoffs was criticized as the Canucks were eliminated in six games by the first-seeded Detroit Red Wings in the opening round. After the Canucks had upset the Red Wings in the first two games to a take a 2–0 series lead back to Vancouver in game three, Cloutier infamously allowed a goal from centre ice from Red Wings defenceman Nicklas Lidström late in the second period. The goal was seen as a turning point in the series as Detroit went on to win four straight games to eliminate Vancouver. Towards the end of the series, Cloutier was pulled in both games five and six in favour of backup Peter Skudra.

After having finished with the eighth and final playoff spot in his first two seasons with Vancouver, Cloutier helped lead the Canucks to within just one point of the Northwest Division title in 2002–03. In 57 games, he posted a 33-16-7 record with a 2.42 GAA and .908 save percentage. He received his second NHL player of the week recognition during the season on February 17, 2003. Cloutier won the first and only playoff series of his career in 2003 as the Canucks eliminated the St. Louis Blues in seven games. Advancing to the second round against the Minnesota Wild, however, Cloutier lost the final three games of the series, being pulled in game five in favour of Alex Auld, to drop the series in seven games.

Cloutier's regular season success with the Canucks continued in 2003–04 as he became the first Canuck goaltender to record his three consecutive 30-win seasons with a 33-21-6 record. His 2.27 GAA, which established a Canucks team-record, and .914 save percentage were both career-highs. Cloutier suffered several bouts with injury over the course of the season, however, initially injurying his groin on December 9, 2003, sidelining him for three games. He was kept from the lineup for brief stints in February and March 2004 due to influenza and a lower-body ailment. In the 2004 playoffs against the Calgary Flames, Cloutier suffered another injury, spraining his right ankle in the first period of game three on April 11, 2004 against the Flames. After Johan Hedberg initially replaced Cloutier, Auld filled in for the final three games of the series. Vancouver was, however, defeated in seven games.

Cloutier re-signed with the Canucks to a one-year, $3 million contract on July 27, 2004, however due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Cloutier spent the season mostly inactive until signing with EC KAC of the Austrian Hockey League on January 20, 2005 for the remainder of the campaign. Replacing injured starter Andrew Verner, he appeared in 13 games with the Klagenfurtmarker-based team, going undefeated with a 1.94 GAA.

With NHL play set to resume in 2005–06, Cloutier re-signed with the Canucks to a two-year, $5 million contract on August 18, 2005. Returning to the Canucks, he suffered a concussion early in the season on October 29, 2005, in a game against the Avalanche. Attempting to check Avalanche forward Andrew Brunette, defenceman Nolan Baumgartner collided with Cloutier, causing a goal and forcing Cloutier out of the game. Suffering from a case of whiplash as well, he missed five games. Soon after returning, Cloutier was re-injured in a game against the Anaheim Ducks on November 20, when forward Rob Niedermayer drove to the crease and collided with Cloutier. He stayed in net to complete the game, a 3–2 win, and suited up the following game to backup Auld. However, after aggravating the knee in a practice on November 23, an MRI revealed a partially-torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Electing for reconstructive knee surgery, occurring on December 15, Cloutier missed the remainder of the season.

Post-Vancouver (2006–present)

As the Canucks missed the playoffs in 2006 with Cloutier out of the lineup (although replacement starter Alex Auld was named team MVP), several changes were made to team personnel in the off-season. Long-time head coach Marc Crawford was replaced by Alain Vigneault, but more importantly for Cloutier, winger Todd Bertuzzi was traded to the Florida Panthers in a multi-player deal for all-star goalie Roberto Luongo. Shortly after Luongo was acquired, Cloutier was traded on July 5, 2006, to the Los Angeles Kings for a second-round draft pick in 2007 and a conditional pick in 2009. With one year remaining on his contract originally signed with Vancouver at $2.55 million, Cloutier was signed by the Kings to a two-year, $6.2 million contract extension on September 27.

Cloutier continued to play under Crawford, as the former Canucks head coach was hired by Los Angeles shortly after he was let go in Vancouver. Prior to his arrival in Los Angeles, Cloutier had played his entire career with the uncommon birdcage-style helmet. However, Kings management insisted that he switch the traditional style for insurance purposes. He made his Kings debut in 2006–07 with a 4–3 loss against the Anaheim Ducks on October 6, 2006. After just six wins in 24 games and a 3.98 GAA, Cloutier suffered a critical hip injury on December 23, 2006, in a 7–0 loss to the Nashville Predators. He underwent season-ending surgery on January 12, 2007. Cloutier had reportedly complained of hip pain prior to the injury on December 23, but volunteered to play with backup Mathieu Garon sidelined with a broken finger.

Returning to Kings training camp in 2007 recovered from his injury, he was, however, assigned to the minors with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. Cloutier was passed over for starts in Manchester as the Kings favoured of the development of younger goaltenders Jonathan Quick, Danny Taylor and Erik Ersberg. On February 7, 2008, he cleared waivers and was called up to the Kings roster. Three days later, Cloutier made his return to the NHL by starting in goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets. His performance that night resulted in a 3-2 shootout victory and clinched his first NHL win in over a year. With starter Jason LaBarbera out of the lineup with a groin injury, Cloutier appeared in nine games with a 3.43 GAA. However, in LaBarbera's absence, he was outperformed by the younger Ersberg.

Cloutier was officially bought out by the Kings on June 21, 2008 and became an unrestricted free agent. Cloutier filed a grievance against the Kings citing that his previous injury voids the buyout. On August 2, 2008 the NHL sided with Los Angeles, noting the buyout should stand. . Without an NHL job, Cloutier took up an assistant coaching position in the Central Hockey League (CHL) with his younger brother Sylvain Cloutier, who had just been hired as head coach of the Corpus Christi IceRays.

On September 4, 2009, it was reported the Detroit Red Wings had offered Cloutier a tryout at the team's training camp for the 2009–10 season. He is expected to compete with Jimmy Howard for the Wings backup position. On Monday September 13 2009, Cloutier made his 1st appearance with the Red Wings and stopped all 8 shots in a 4-2 loss against the New York Rangers in a preason game. He was officially released from the Detroit Red Wings on September 24, 2009.

International play

During Cloutier's major junior career, he competed in the 1995 World Junior Championships. He went undefeated in three games with a 2.67 GAA to help Canada win a gold medal as the host country in Red Deer, Albertamarker.

Personal

Cloutier was born to Ivan and Susan Cloutier in Mont-Lauriermarker, Quebecmarker, but grew up with his family in Sault Ste.marker Mariemarker, Ontariomarker. Cloutier and his wife Nikki, whom he married in July 2004, have a daughter named Kali, born in December 2007. His older brother, Sylvain was also a hockey player and was captain of the Guelph Storm of the OHL. After a professional career in Englandmarker, he became the head coach for the Corpus Christi IceRays of the Central Hockey League (CHL) in 2008–09, where Cloutier joined him as a de facto assistant coach.

Awards



Records



Career statistics

Regular season

   
Season Team League GP W L T OTL MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1996–97 Binghamton Rangers AHL 60 23 28 8 3367 199 3 3.55 .892
1997–98 New York Rangers NHL 12 4 5 1 551 23 0 2.50 .907
1997–98 Hartford Wolf Pack AHL 24 13 8 3 1417 62 0 2.63 .917
1998–99 New York Rangers NHL 22 6 8 3 1096 49 0 2.68 .914
1999–00 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 52 9 30 3 2492 145 0 3.49 .885
2000–01 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 24 3 13 3 1005 59 1 3.52 .891
2000–01 Vancouver Canucks NHL 16 4 6 5 914 37 0 2.43 .894
2000–01 Detroit Vipers IHL 1 0 1 0 59 3 0 3.05 .903
2001–02 Vancouver Canucks NHL 62 31 22 5 3501 142 7 2.43 .901
2002–03 Vancouver Canucks NHL 57 33 16 7 3376 136 2 2.42 .908
2003–04 Vancouver Canucks NHL 60 33 21 6 3539 134 5 2.27 .914
2004–05 EC KAC AUS 13 7 0 5 722 25 1 1.94
2005–06 Vancouver Canucks NHL 13 8 3 1 680 36 0 3.17 .892
2006–07 Los Angeles Kings NHL 24 6 14 2 1281 85 0 3.98 .860
2007–08 Manchester Monarchs AHL 14 4 9 719 42 0 3.50 .869
2007–08 Los Angeles Kings NHL 9 2 4 1 247 28 0 3.44 .887
NHL totals 351 139 142 33 4 18928 874 15 2.77 .899


References

  1. [1]


External links




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