It sure looks like it. As I wrote in today’s paper — you can read it here — Dan Cloutier has almost certainly played his last game as a King. Sources have indicated to me that Cloutier is not in the Kings’ plans for next season, with a buyout serving as the most likely remedy to the $3.1 million the Kings owe him next season.
Here’s what Cloutier had to say yesterday about his future with the Kings:
“I have no idea. Who knows? This year has been a roller-coaster year. One for the record books, with everything I’ve gone through. I certainly proved to myself that I can still play in this league, but I don’t know what the future holds.”
Cloutier went on to be effusive in his praise of the Kings’ young goaltenders, pointing out that the Kings have a bright future with goalies such as Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier. Cloutier said, “There’s a lot of depth in the organization (at goaltender). Obviously they’re rebuilding and I’m not a young guy. Maybe I’m in their plans and maybe I’m not. … When I first got up, I thought I would play more, but (Ersberg) got up and ran with it, so I’m happy for him.”
I followed up by asking Cloutier the following: “You might not know what the Kings’ plans are for you, but would you like to be back with the Kings next season?” He said:
“Obviously I have a contract with them. I’m a guy who honors my contract. It’s whatever their plan is. I’m not going to be bitter about whatever happens. If I’m not in their plans, I’m not.”
Cloutier went on, once again, to praise the Kings’ young players, and said, “It’s too bad they went through what they had to this year. The future is bright for these guys.”
So that’s that, for now. If I remember correctly, buyouts must be done by July 1. McCauley’s buyout got done on the day of the draft last year. So stay tuned…