Los Angeles Kings goaltender and former Vancouver Canuck, Dan Cloutier has been placed on waivers as the team has been unhappy with the veteran goalie ever since they acquired him 2 years ago from the Canucks.
Originally sought for the number one job in LA, the Kings swung a deal and sent a second rounder up north with hopes that the Quebecois native would solve their goaltendings woes that included losing Felix Potvin to the Boston Bruins, their "franchise goalie" Jamie Storr's career, the unorthodox Roman Cechmanek to Europe and even Cristobal Huet...whom they traded in order to acquire Mathieu Garon in 2004.
The Kings goaltending future might have gotten a little brighter with the cutting of Cloutier.
Jason LaBarbera is looking like gold and youngster Jonathan Bernier is being hailed as the second coming of Jamie Storr.
LaBarbera, a former prospect for the New York Rangers, spent the entire 2006-2007 season with the Manchester Monarchs in the American Hockey League and posted elite numbers with an impressive total of 39 wins, a very good 2.20 GAA and an excellent .933 save percentage.
The Kings had been hesitant to recall LaBarbera last season, despite injuries to both Dan Cloutier and Mathieu Garon due to the fact he'd have to clear waivers to be called up or sent down.
So instead the club went down to the ECHL and brought up the short-lived Japanese "named" sensation, Yutaka Fukufuji, minor-league scrub Barry Brust and even went as far as giving 41-year old Sean Burke a crack at stopping a puck again.
But now, with Garon signing with the Edmonton Oilers via free-agency and the cutting loose of the horrendous Dan Cloutier...what? have you forgotten his 2006-2007 line?
Hehe, a W-L record of 6-14-2, a goals against average a tick under 4.00 and a save percentage that makes me cringe at .860%.
Ok, where was I?
Ah, ok, so no more Garon, Cloutier has just been cut loose...that leaves us with two phenomenal youngsters: Jason LaBarbera and, we shouldn't forget Jonathan Bernier, who shone for Team Canada at the Summit Series recently.
So it's now expected that Jason LaBarbera will get the majority of the cookie with Jonathan Bernier popping in for a more than occasional start in the crease as well.
I can already tell that Kings fans are celebrating, there's no doubt that Cloutier definietly lost that spunk he portrayed with the Vancouver Canucks in the pre-lockout era.
Here's the official reason from Kings' GM Dean Lombardi:
The reality is, he hasn’t played for three years.
The only way to really get his rhythm back and to get him where he needs to be is to get him to play.
You see this in baseball all the time, where established pitchers have to do a form of rehab assignments if they lose their fastballs and the only way to get it back – to get totally confident – is to go back to the minors and do it.
Obviously, we gave this a lot of thought. The bottom line is, we thought this was the only way we could get him back to where he was comfortable. Physically, he’s totally healthy. But as we all know with goaltending, a lot of it has to do with his confidence and his state of mind. The only way he was going to get it all together was to play and to play a lot and not have to do it at this level.
So he says *rolls eyes*.
As for the rest, here's an inside look from our buddy Eklund of who's been placed on waivers (NEVER forget the source of this, but then again, why would he lie for something not so important and jeopardize his spectacularly marvelous career as the anonymous hockey blogger?)
See anyone that would interest your team?