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On this day in 2001, the Canucks acquire goaltender Dan Cloutier from Lightning
25 days ago
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On this day in 2001, the Vancouver Canucks acquired goaltender Dan Cloutier from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenceman Adrian Aucoin and a second-round pick in the 2001 NHL Draft.
In the 2000-01 campaign, the Canucks were hungry for a playoff spot. Still, they were missing a few minor assets to help push them over the line and punch themselves a ticket into the postseason.
For Canucks general manager Brian Burke, this meant acquiring a young goaltender that would not only mesh with the current group of players but someone that could provide what he was looking for in seasons to come.
Cloutier fits that description perfectly. He was a young 24-year-old netminder who wasn’t posting outrageous numbers but would contribute to the backup goaltending role behind Bob Essensa while the Canucks battled into the playoffs.
“Things didn’t work out in Tampa, but I learned a lot, and I’m a better goaltender and a better person for everything I went through,” Cloutier told the Tampa Bay Tribune‘s Ira Kaufman. “I don’t regret anything about the past two years, although there were some nights this season when I thought I should have played. Now, I’m getting a fresh start in Vancouver.
Cloutier was initially drafted in 1994 as the New York Rangers’ 26th overall selection to the New York Rangers. He made 34 appearances over two years before the Rangers traded him to the Lightning. In Tampa, Cloutier found his place as a starting netminder, playing 40 games between the posts for the Lighting in 1999-00 with a .885 save percentage and 3.44 goals against average.
Tampa Bay Tribune article from 2001 when the Canucks acquired Cloutier.
The beginning of the 2000-01 season started well for the young netminder in Tampa. Still, things took a turn in December when Cloutier took a backseat to former Canuck Kevin Weekes, who was handed the starters role.
Cloutier played 16 games for the Canucks in 2000-01 and gave them the extra push to grasp their postseason endeavors. Unfortunately, their season was cut short when they were swept by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Colorado Avalanche, in the first round.
However, the organization recognized Cloutier’s efforts, and he was handed the starting role for the following three seasons. He recorded a .907 save percentage and 2.37 goals against average during that time. However, when it came to postseason contention, Cloutier struggled with the pressure to perform as he did throughout the regular season, which wound up in the infamous former Nicklas Lidstrom slapshot goal from centre ice that contributed to the loss to the Detroit Red Wings in the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Cloutier eventually moved on from the Canucks after various injuries littered his final seasons with the organization, and he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 2006. His achievements in Vancouver did not go unrecognized. Cloutier’s three consecutive 30-win seasons etched into Canucks history as the first goaltender to achieve the feat, and his 2.27 goals against average in 2003-04 set a franchise record (later surpassed by Roberto Luongo).
Cloutier played 208 games with Vancouver, recording a .906 save percentage and 2.42 goals against average over five seasons with the club.
As for Aucoin, who had been a part of the Canucks since they drafted him 117th overall in the 1992 draft, he didn’t last long in Tampa Bay, playing only the remaining 26 games of the season, scoring one goal and 12 points. He was later traded to the New York Islanders in June. Aucoin recorded 49 goals and 120 points across 341 games with the Vancouver Canucks.
The third-round pick the Canucks sent to the Lightning saw them select Alexander Polushin, who never played a game for the Lightning.
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