Thursday, July 06, 2006

A fresh start and a fair move

Dan Cloutier has handled his time in Vancouver with nothing but class, and today Dave Nonis repaid that favour, by trading Cloutier within the conference to the Los Angeles Kings.

Normally when you have a high profile player being prepared to move on, you try your hardest to make sure that he’s placed as far as possible (hello Todd Bertuzzi!) from the team he last played for.

But in the case of Dan Cloutier, he’s merely a few hundred miles down the coast and will be a frequent visitor to GM Place in the next few years. Cloutier, who became redundant with the arrival of Roberto Luongo was re-united with his old coach Marc Crawford today, as the Canucks and Kings swung a deal that sends the goaltender off to Hollywood for a couple of draft picks in the years to come.

It ends an awkward phase for the Canucks where they had one pretty high paid back up wondering what the next move would be, even more important it would seem that they managed to do the deal without having to pick up a portion of Cloutier’s salary which seemed like the likely outcome had they not been able to move him over the short term.

In Los Angeles, Cloutier will be the starting goal tender a position that he probably deserves considering his length of service in the NHL and his salary level at the moment. He’ll be a solid addition to the Los Angeles line up and providing Marc Crawford has learned a few lessons and doesn’t over play him in the regular season, Cloutier may finally lead a team on to playoff success.

Despite playing in the graveyard of goaltenders on the west coast, Cloutier never seemed to take the criticisms and frustrations to heart and even made Vancouver his off season home, which must have been an enjoyable thing considering the non stop braying of the Vancouver hockey fan on the sport talk shows.

He handled himself well during his time in Vancouver and one hopes that he finds success and happiness in his new post. With this move and the departure of Jarkko Ruutu to Pittsburgh earlier in the day the exodus from Vancouver continues at its rapid pace, Dave Nonis may not have wanted to blow the team up when he fired Marc Crawford earlier this year, but suddenly this team is changing complexion rather quickly, it will be with interest that Canuck fans view the finished product come training camp.

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