What can I say about Dan Cloutier that hasn’t already been said by everyone else? Does anyone in So Cal really want to read about him anymore? Let me see if I can keep this short and simple…
Okay, after staring at the blinking cursor for about a minute wondering what to write, I’ve come to the conclusion that Cloutier just needs to leave. He wore out his welcome a long time ago and was NOT a consummate professional in my eyes, even though he was getting paid like he was actually a professional athlete. After Barbs was injured and Aubin took the reins, the Kings decided to try and give Cloutier another go with the big boys. Okay, I’ll admit that he played well in a couple of games. But that’s it. A couple of games isn't gonna cut it. Especially not in LA where goaltending has been such a sensitive issue.
Everyone knows he came out with a less-than-stellar interview earlier in the year and then reiterated (and elaborated) on his treatment from the Kings organization, which immediately responded with their side on the matters Clouts spoke about. The relationship between him and the fans is not so great (even though I’ve heard he’s really nice in person), which isn’t surprising seeing as how much baggage Clouts has amassed here and in terms of his numbers on the ice. During his time spent in Manchester after recovering from surgery, he recorded 4 wins, 9 losses. Playing in a Kings jersey, he tallied 2 wins, 4 losses, and 1 overtime loss in 9 games. Obviously not stellar and after his interview with the Vancouver Sun I felt like he was just this gigantic elephant in the room. Since we didn't hear anything come out after the interview, I'm thinking that the situation was dealt with behind closed doors, which seems to have been the case since the team ended the season without another incident of that nature occurring again. But since he expressed interest in playing for another club (and, more importantly, not under 25 years of age), I don't see him returning to the bright lights of Hollywood and that's fine with me.
At the very end of the season, Clouts was out for a couple of games with another injury, which brought out Daniel Taylor from the ranks within the Kings’ system. He spent some of the season with the Reading Royals getting 3 wins, a 2.63 GAA, and a .917 save percentage. He also played in Manchester for 23 games where he went 13-5-2-4 with a 2.40 GAA and a .921 save percentage. He then was recalled to the Kings and actually came in relief for a game where he, unfortunately, was scored on on the first shot he faced. In that one game he faced 10 shots, let in 2, got a .800 GAA, and a 6.00 save percentage. I'm not gonna hold too much against him for those stats with the Kings since he didn't start that particular outing and it was only one game!
He is currently with the Reading Royals in their playoff run. They've advanced to the second round and so far, in the playoffs, he has gone 5-3-0-0 in 8 games getting a 2.66 GAA, and a .899 save percentage. I see Taylor perhaps making a semi-permanent home in Manchester next season since he won't be able to outplay Barbs, Ersberg, or Bernier at the training camp. I don't want to say I'm discounting him, but I just don't think he's ready with those aforementioned 3 going for the #1 and #2 spots with the Kings. If my presumption is correct, then one of those 3 will go to Manchester and either Taylor or Quick will play backup goaltender. And then either Taylor or Quick will go to Reading...OR to the Ontario Reign. The addition of another ECHL affiliate makes for perhaps an interesting twist to who will play netminder there and in Reading since Ontario, CA is MUCH closer than Reading, PA. I'm definitely curious to see who will be on that roster.