The Ex-Canuck Factor: Dan Cloutier

Today I am going to be starting The Ex-Canuck Factor segment where weekly I will talk about one former Canuck and where they are now. This idea was formed by Frank Rekas on therattrick.com.

With the current goaltending controversy in Vancouver I thought I should start the first edition of The Ex-Canuck Factor with a former Canuck goaltender. You guessed it – Dan Cloutier! Now put that beach ball away and try to remember the best and the worst of the fierce Dan Cloutier.

Dan Cloutier making a save during his time in Vancouver (tenderslounge.com)

Dan Cloutier had his most successful seasons in Vancouver when he had 30+ wins in a season for three years in a row between 2001-02 and 2003-04. Known for his butterfly and stand up style goaltending and his old school birdcage style helmet.

He was part of the Canuck era that had a combination of Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, and Ed Jovanovski. But when people think of Dan Cloutier, they don’t think of his 30+ successful seasons. They think about the 2002 playoffs when Nicklas Lidstrom scored on Cloutier from a slapshot at centre ice. That particular goal was a turning point of the series that allowed the Detroit Red Wings to eliminate the Canucks in 6 games.

Dan Cloutier only won one playoff series in his 10 year NHL career. It was during his time inVancouver, 2003 against the St. Louis Blues. The following series against the Minnesota Wild is a great example of what Canuck fans typically saw of Dan Cloutier, 6 goals on 21 shots, 9 goals on 40 shots, and he even sent two punches to the head of former Wild goaltender Dwayne Roloson (I forgot he was ever on the Wild!)

Unfortunately for Dan Cloutier injuries took over his career with a combination of knee, groin, hip and back problems. In 2005/2006 on a 5 million dollar contract with the Canucks Dan Cloutier received whip slash and a concussion when he tried to check Avelanche Andrew Brunette but was instead accidentally hit by teammate Nolan Baumgartner. After he returned, a month after his original injury he collided with Scott Niedermayer in the crease. This collision led to an MRI which was the first time his severe knee problems became known, an ACL tear. He missed the rest of the season for reconstructive knee surgery. The Canucks missed the playoffs that season which meant changes needed to be made. These changes brought success such as the acquisition of Roberto Luongo for Todd Bertuzzi.

Cloutier was then traded to the LA Kings for a 2nd round draft pick and conditional pick. Clearly, his trade value was poor. His tenure on the Canucks lasted 5.5 years with 109 wins, at the time he was behind only Kirk McLean and Richard Brodeur in Canuck wins. In the end Dan Cloutier did break numerous records with the Canucks, however they have all been surpassed by Roberto Luongo.

In two seasons with the LA Kings Dan Cloutier played only 33 games and recorded 8 wins and an average of about 3.7 GPA. The LA Kings bought out his contract at the end of the 2007/2008 season. Cloutier then became an assistant coach in the CHL along side of his brother who was the head coach.

At the beginning of the 2009 season Dan Cloutier tried to make a comeback when he was offered a tryout contract with the Canucks and the Detroit Red Wings. He chose to tryout with the Red Wings thinking he had a better chance at making the team because his competition for the back up goaltender was Jimmy Howard (good luck Dan). He was quickly released from the Detroit Red Wings despite his good play in a preseason game. He then signed a contract with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL, but after only a month his contract was terminated due to injury, again of the hip. Later in 2010 Dan Cloutier announced his retirement due to frequent injury problems.

Dan Cloutier after a fight in the AHL. (trevorpresiloski.com)

Currently Dan Cloutier is a goaltending coach with the OHL’s Barrie Colts. His most recent NHL appearance was during Markus Naslund’s jersey ceremony at Rogers Arena. His presence was unpredictable but also classy and showed his friendship towards NHL all-star Markus Naslund.

What do you remember Dan Cloutier for? I may have missed some of his biggest NHL moments because when Dan Cloutier started in Vancouver in 2001 I was only 10 years old. Cut me some slack Vancouver!

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Tags: Cory Schneider Dan Cloutier Ex Canuck NHL Roberto Luongo Vancouver Canucks

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