I finally got some more definitive word about the Dan Cloutier situation. For those who haven’t been following closely, the Kings bought about Cloutier’s contract but Cloutier filed a grievance, basically alleging that he’s injured and therefore should have the buyout voided. According to the Kings, the league has agreed that Cloutier’s buyout should stand. Officially, Cloutier is considered bought out. His $1.033 million for this season will count against the salary cap. At some point, an arbitrator is expected to address the issue, but that could take weeks or perhaps months.
It just never ends. According to a report on TSN.ca, Dan Cloutier’s buyout might not go as planned. Just as a follow to this, if this story is true and the Kings are not able to actually buy out Cloutier, they could list him as a long-term injury and get cap relief that way.
We’ll do the last of the player evaluations today, with everyone’s favorite position: the goalies. We’re going to do a separate set of evaluations for the prospects, which will include Bernier and Quick. So why not start with…
This season: 9 games, 2-4 record, 3.43 goals-against average, .887 save percentage.
Positives: Well…hmmm. Cloutier did have one shining game, Feb. 21 against St. Louis, when he stopped 32 of 33 shots in a 5-1 victory. Then again, that game against the second-worst team in the Western Conference.
Negatives: It’s easy to pile on Cloutier, but it’s just been an unfortunate situation all around. He tried to play while hurt during 2006, and that’s admirable, but his acquisition/signing was just a disaster, in every sense of the word. The one thing he can be blamed for is the way he turned on the organization, which publicly supported him throughout all his troubles.
Looking ahead: The summer could go in a couple different ways. The most likely outcome is that Cloutier will have the final year of his contract bought out. There’s a chance he could end up in a long-term-injury situation, but regardless, it’s almost certain that he won’t be on the Kings’ roster next season.
Contract situation: Signed through 2008-09 (cap number of $3.1 million next season).
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…
Dan Cloutier is starting in goal. Daniel Taylor is scratched, and for those who think the whole Taylor mess was completely just about getting him games in Reading, it’s wasn’t. That was part of it, not not all of it. The other part involved whether Cloutier was ready to play and if he wanted to play. It’s complicated, and after today it won’t matter anyway.