Goaltender Dan Cloutier was a first-round pick, 26th overall by the New York Rangers in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft while playing with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL. Much had been expected from Cloutier coming out of junior hockey, with an impressive resume that included playing for the Memorial Cup winning Greyhounds in 1993, playing three games for Team Canada's gold medal winning squad at the 1995 World Junior Championships as well as backstopping the Guelph Storm at the 1996 Memorial Cup, despite coming up short of the title.
Cloutier appeared in 12 games for the Rangers during the 1997-98 campaign after spending a year in the minors. He managed to get in to 22 games the following year, but with Mike Richter still firmly entrenched as the team's number-one goalie, the Rangers opted to trade him to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The new scenery didn't do much to enhance the young netminder's career as the club struggled with a 12-43-6 record with Cloutier between the pipes.
In February, 2001, Cloutier was traded to the Vancouver Canucks. Since being sent to the west coast of Canada he has been the team's number one goalie and has been an instrumental part of the team's improvement in the standings. In his first three full seasons with the Canucks, Cloutier has surpassed the 30 win plateau each year.
Cloutier's strong play since his arrival from the Lightning in 2001 has made the Canucks a much better team defensively and one of the premier team's in the league today.
Despite Cloutier's regular season success, the netminder and his club would struggle in the playoffs throughout the years. In 2005-06, Cloutier tore his ACL in November and was forced to miss the entire season, leaving Alex Auld as the starting goaltender for the remainder of the year.
In the summer of 2006 the Canucks parted ways with Cloutier sending him to Los Angeles in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2007 and a conditional pick in 2009.