Dave Nonis got back to work on Thursday, cobbling together a few more pieces to his Vancouver Canucks. Nonis who welcomed back Todd Bertuzzi earlier in the week, solidified his goaltending situation today. Dan Cloutier signed on the dotted line with a two year contract worth 2.5 million a year, to guard the Canucks net.
Nonis stated that Cloutier is at that age when a goaltender comes into his prime and both Nonis and Canuck fans hope that translates into steady play for the next two years, with a special interest in playoff participation.
Goaltending has been a particularly troublesome spot over the recent years in Vancouver, long gone are the memories of King Richard and Kirk McLean. Since those halcyon days a string of tenders have come and gone through the seasons, some of whom were touted as the next and greatest only to flame out under the immense pressure of Vancouver hockey.
Cloutier has had a career high in wins of 33 back in 2003-04, including five shutouts and a GAA of 2.27 and the Canucks are no doubt hoping he recaptures that form as the 2005 campaign gets underway.
While they celebrate the Cloutier signing, Canuck fans can ponder the possibilities of Anson Carter, the 31 year old free agent signed up for a one year, 1 million dollar contract and a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup. In 2003 Carter bounced between, New York, Washington and Los Angeles, none of which the standings will have shown gave him much of a shot at sipping from Lord Stanley's Mug, he's hoping that by joining the Canucks he can fast track that post season appearance a bit.
Many consider Carter a bit of a conundrum, he's always been expected to excel and shows some flashes of brilliance only to return to the middle of the pack at most inopportune times. He's best known for his gold medal clinching goal in the 2003 World Hockey Championships.
The Canucks are toying with the idea of putting him on a line with the Sedin's, hopefully to put his playmaking and scoring touch to use and help get the two Swedes untracked and performing this year.
The Carter acquisition is a bit of a gamble but one that may pay off, he plays a similar style to that of Bertuzzi, though he's not quite as physical as the first line player is. None the less, he will be able to help create some room for the Sedin's and put the finishing touches on any pucks that might come his way.
If Carter and his linemates can improve the offense, Cloutier will be more than able to handle the defence and the start of the Dave Nonis era of Canuck hockey may not be all that painful a breaking in period after all.