The Canucks are making a change at the goaltender position, but it is not the resolution many have clamored for.
Dan Cloutier, the veteran of ten years and a Vancouver mainstay in net for five, was named to the organization’s player development staff as a goaltending consultant. Cloutier was most recently a goaltending consultant for the Barrie Colts of the OHL during the 2010-11 season.
He has not been seen on the ice since 2009-10, after being invited to a tryout with the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings released him shortly thereafter. His last professional game came with the Rockford Ice Hogs of the AHL that same season.
Cloutier, who enjoyed some of his best seasons with the Canucks, has career statistics of 139-142-33, with 15 shutouts and a 2.77 goals against average. His Canucks tenure ended third among club records in goals against average (2.42) and shutouts (14) while fourth in wins (109) and games played (208).
Though Cloutier was the first goaltender in team history to record three consecutive 30-win seasons with the club, he was much maligned for his inability to put the team over the hump in the postseason. In his first year as starter, he led the team to its second consecutive eighth seed. In the 2002 opening series against the Detroit Red Wings, a long goal from center ice proved a pivotal moment for the team, as they eventually surrendered a two games to none advantage to lose the series in six games.
The trend would continue in the 2003-04 campaign, when, despite leading the team to the second round of the playoffs against the Minnesota Wild, he imploded once more, surrendering nine goals on 40 shots through the final two matches to negate what had been a 3-1 series lead. The opening series that year, a seven-game victory against the St. Louis Blues, was his only series win with the team.
Chronic injuries and inconsistent postseason play would dictate a move to Los Angeles in 2006. His departure paved the way for Roberto Luongo, who backstopped the team to a franchise record 105 points in his first season.
The Quebec native won a gold medal at the 1995 World Junior Championship, a year removed from his selection in the 1994 NHL Draft by the New York Rangers.
With the NHL under lockout, he will work primarily with the Canucks young netminders in Chicago at the AHL level. Training camp for the Chicago Wolves, the Canucks top development affiliate, opens this coming Wednesday.