Monday, September 3, 2007

Cloutier and LaBarbera Fight to be King in LA

It's safe to say that last year was a bust for Dan Cloutier. Coming over from Vancouver, with coach Marc Crawford, he only played 24 (miserable) games, and was plagued by injuries throughout. Mathieu Garon stole Cloutier's job with his solid play, but Garon has since moved on to Edmonton. Jason LaBarbera should have been up in the NHL last season, but since he started the year in the AHL, if he was called up by the Kings, they would risk losing him off of waivers. A risk they weren't willing to take. Instead, they chose to leave him down in Manchester for the whole season, where he played great, and let him try to make the team out of training camp this year, thus sidestepping waivers. He has a good shot at the starting role, but will have to out-duel Dan Cloutier in training camp. LaBarbera is just coming into his prime, and should be able to put up good numbers on an improved Kings squad. Cloutier, on the other hand, is looking to bounce back after the mess that was last season. His fiery attitude, and willingness to improve himself gives him a good shot at doing that. The Kings also recently signed J.S Aubin to a contract. He will provide the Kings with a third NHL-ready goalie, and will have a shot in training camp, but will most likely be playing for Manchester.

This offseason, the Kings signed a goalie out of HV71 of the Swedish Elite League named Erik Ersberg, and he will most likely step in for Labarbera in Manchester. He's no Lundqvist coming out of Europe, but does have some promise. He will likely be paired up with J.S Aubin as a tandem. Young Jonathan Quick will be entering his first year of pro hockey, coming out of college. He was first thought to be playing for Manchester, but with the signing of Aubin, that means the only place left for him is Reading of the ECHL. We'll have to see how it plays out in training camp in order for this to all be settled out, since there are so many unknowns. The King's main goaltending prospect is Jonathan Bernier. He is on the roster of the Canadian team in the "Super Series" that is going on right now. He started game two, and won 3-0, getting the 23-shot shutout. He will be invited to training camp, and unless he makes the team right then and there, which is unlikely, he will go back to the QMJHL and will play for the Lewiston Maineiacs. He has great lateral movement, and is the future for the Kings. They are only killing time with LaBarbera and Cloutier until he arrives.

4 comments:

Avsfan19 said...

What about Fukufuji?

Eggshmeg said...

I don't think he's with the organization anymore. Plus he didn't make the cut :D

Avsfan19 said...

Damn, there goes the best Japanese player in the game. lol

Avsfan19 said...

Wait, I forgot Kariya. :P