Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Dan Cloutier: 1 year for $3,000,000

What does an average NHL goaltender cost you these days?

Answer: About $3,000,000 USD per season.

The Canucks and Dan Cloutier avoided a nasty arbitration hearing and agreed to a 1-year, $3mil deal for next season.

In my previous entry regarding the Canucks� upcoming arbitrary battles, I was expecting this kind of dough for Cloutier.

So, Lalime just signed a deal that will pay him $2.9million next season, with an option for $3.2mil for the following season. I would expect Cloutier would fall into line with Lalime�s contract, and his award would be around $3mil for next year.

Why did both sides come to the table and hammer this out?

My guess: fear.

For the Canucks, they probably feared that some buckethead arbitrator would award Cloutier around $3.5mil, which would be too much money to pay an average-at-best goaltender. The Canucks would probably have to walk away from that deal, and be left without a bonafide #1 goaltender for next season. As bad as Cloutier is, there aren�t a lot of other options easily available without giving up a lot in a trade (Kevin Weekes Part II? I don�t think so�)

Cloutier probably feared that the Canucks would walk away from any award that would be too high, leaving him unemployed next season.

Would any other NHL team pay $3mil or more for Cloutier�s services next year? Does Paris Hilton have any real talent?

The Canucks would have the right to match any offer to Cloutier under 80% of the arbitration award. So, say Cloutier is awarded $3.5 million, the Canucks could match any offer to Cloutier that was $2.8mil or under. The Canucks would love to have Cloutier back at that amount, and they know that no other team is going to be offering over $2.8 mil if Cloutier were available.

Overall, this is a win-win situation for both sides. The Canucks get a decent #1 goalie for next season at the maximum price they were willing to disburse, and Cloutier gets a pretty good salary which is in the neighbourhood of what an arbitrator would have likely given him.

Cloutier also avoids having his ego bruised by having his game chopped to bits during the arbitration hearing, although Dave Nonis couldn�t do a third of the ripjob that Brian Burke would be capable of. One day with Brian Burke and Cloutier would be reduced to a blubbering alcoholic.

Cloutier is happy, the Canucks are happy, and the fans need some Maalox.

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