The Dismantling of the House that Burke Built

The writing was on the wall for Dan Cloutier when Nonis made a spectacular splash the night before the NHL Entry Draft and traded the enigmatic Bertuzzi for the unsignable Luongo.  The Cloutier camp declined to comment, knowing that Nonis would get to them when time was made available.  Well that time came yesterday, and Cloutier has been reunited with his former coach Marc Crawford in LA.

The ironic thing about this deal is that the last time the Canucks made a move to upgrade in goal, obtaining Cloutier from the other Florida team, we traded the leftover Felix Potvin to the LA Kings as well.  If you think it’s been tough up here with our goaltending, try being a fan of the Kings for a while where they’ve grabbed again from our leftover goalie pile.

So where does Cloutier fit all time against other Canuck goaltenders?  You may be surprised to see his overall statistics here.  Despite his inability to lead the team deep into the playoffs, he sits high up there on the list in Vancouver goaltender stats:

1st in Goals Against Average 2.38

2nd in Shutouts 14

3rd in Wins 109

3rd in Games played 208 (tied with Gary Smith)

He also holds the Canuck single season record for most shutouts with 7 in the 2001-02 season. 

Despite that high standing in Canuck history he’ll probably be remembered most for that one fateful spring game against the Detroit Red Wings.  That was the beginning of the demise of Cloutier on this team.  He has continued to be one of the more frustrating goaltenders to watch over that period.  Three consecutive seasons with over 30 wins, a feat only Martin Broduer has been able to replicate, and yet only one playoff series win to show for it. 

So another one of Burke’s supposed core is gone, and along with Jovanovski and Bertuzzi before him (you could even add Crawford to that group).  You really have to think that Nonis is putting his own stamp on this team now, one that he can finally call his own after two full years on the job.

From my view, joining the LA Kings is the best scenario for Cloutier.  Crawford wanted this guy and we all know how difficult Crow can be on goaltenders, there is no need to count how many he ran out of town on his own here in Vancouver.  But Crawford has always valued Cloutier’s fierce competitive nature and spoke about it often in his post game interviews.

There is no denying the Canucks have significantly upgraded their goaltending the last few weeks, however, there is also no denying the fact that without Cloutier last season we were also unable to make the playoffs for the first time in 6 years.  The LA Kings will be much more competitive next year, watch for them to make considerable advancement in the standings, even make the playoffs… and then be knocked out in 7 by the Vancouver Canucks.

The Chief Canuck

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