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Examining the Los Angeles Kings goaltenders

by Evan Grossman / NHL.com

 
Complete Kings Analysis:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards
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Who's No. 1?

That’s a good question. If the season was to start this very minute, the Kings would have a tough time naming a true No. 1 man between the pipes. On the surface it looks like they may rely on a platoon in nets before a winner emerges with veteran Dan Cloutier expected to feel pressure from career backup Jason LaBarbara.

Another veteran, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, signed as a free agent this summer, should also challenge for the throne in Los Angeles, as will 19-year-old former first-round pick Jonathan Bernier who competed in the Super Series against Russia in August. The super-competitive Cloutier missed the final 44 games of last season with a hip injury and is far from being the lock for opening night against the Ducks in London.

The goalie situation is the main attraction for training camp watchers and the battle for the No. 1 job should be among the most hotly contested competitions in the NHL this fall.

Backup plan

Basically, you can just read the previous three paragraphs over again because whoever finishes second in the goalie battle will wind up playing caddy to the winner.

If Los Angeles has a glaring weakness, it might be in goal. Last year, Cloutier, 31, went 6-14 with a 3.98 GAA in 24 games. As competitive and fiery as Cloutier is in net, the Kings need someone who is steady and solid. The 6-foot-3 LaBarbera could be that guy this season after he went 11-9 with a 2.89 GAA a season ago. LaBarbera, however, has never really been a No. 1 guy.

Could this finally be the season the 27-year-old gets the chance?

As for Bernier, he’s seen as the goalie of the future in Los Angeles. The 19-year-old, who was taken No. 11 overall in 2006, still might be a year away from being able to carry the load at the NHL level.

In the Wings

Jonathan Bernier --He’s young, he’s talented, and he’s a goalie from Quebec. What more could you possibly want in a puckstopper? He shut out the Russians in his first game of the Super Series this summer and there are plenty of people rooting for him to make the Kings coming out of camp.

Erik Ersberg -- Played the last four years in the Swedish Elite League. … The 25-year old could be the Kings’ answer to Henrik Lundqvist. More likely, he’ll need minor league seasoning if he comes to North America.

Jonathan Quick -- Went 19-12-5 last year with UMass-Amherst in 37 games with a 2.16 GAA and .929 save-percentage. … A third-round pick in 2005. … 21-year old native of Connecticut and product of the famed Avon Old Farms program.

Dan Cloutier
Veteran Dan Cloutier will have to battle for the Kings' No. 1 goaltender spot in training camp.

"We have the two young goaltenders who will probably play in Manchester this year in Jon Quick and Erik Ersberg. We are very pleased when we watch them both right now. Quick has a good presence and Ersberg has really good feet and his movement in the net is noticeable, crisp and sharp. We are very pleased with those two goaltenders." -- Kings coach Marc Crawford
FAST FACTS

1. Jonathan Bernier was taken No. 11 overall in 2006 and as of today, only two players taken in front of him have played in the NHL. Those players are Jordan Staal (No. 2 overall) and Phil Kessel (No. 5).

Cloutier
2. The same year Dan Cloutier was taken at No. 26 by the Cup-champion New York Rangers, the Kings selected goalie Jamie Storr No. 7 overall. Storr hasn’t played in the NHL since the 2003-04 season.

3. The Kings ranked 27 of 30 NHL teams, allowing an average of 3.38 goals per game.


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Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards | Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster
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