Poor Dan Cloutier can’t catch a break.
First, and most obviously, he has spent the last two seasons posting hockey stats that would only make baseball players envious. His last two single-season goals-against averages (3.71) more closely resemble above-average baseball ERAs and his save percentages (.874) would be good OPSes for second basemen.
Then he got hurt and spent much of the year nursing knee and hip injuries. It was no surprise, then, that the Kings eventually put him on waivers with the intention of buying him out once he cleared. But there was a problem: Cloutier was still hurt. Under the newish CBA, you can’t buy out or waive an injured player.
The Kings bought him out anyway.
But Cloutier contended that he was still hurt, so the league was brought in to settle the dispute, and they unsurprisingly ruled that Cloutier was indeed bought out.
An independent arbitrator will hear this case — at some point in the indeterminate and assumedly semi-far-off future. I’m assuming Cloutier’s S.O.L. on this one, which is really too bad. He seems like a nice enough guy, awful goalie or not, and the Kings front office was the one that gave him his contract, truly one of the first big head-scratchers in the New NHL. The Kings should have to pay double his salary against the cap, just because of how stupid the deal was in the first place.
Shady dealings like this don’t bode well for the players down the road, that’s fore sure. Watch as Jeff Finger is mysteriously injured and bought out by this time next year.