Jacques Cloutier
Position: Goaltender

Born: January 3, 1960

Birthplace: Noranda, Quebec, Canada

Height: 5'7"  Weight: 160 lbs.

Catches: Left

Drafted by: Buffalo Sabres, 3rd Round, 55th
     Overall, 1979 NHL Amateur Draft

Seasons with Buffalo: 1981-82 to 1988-89

Uniform Numbers: 29, 1

Games Played:
Save Percentage:
Sabre Totals

A native of Noranda, Quebec, Jacques Cloutier played his junior hockey for Trois-Rivieres of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In 1977-78, his second season with Trois Rivieres, Cloutier played in 71 of his team's 72 games.  That year the Drauvers lowest goals-against of any team in the league.  At the end of the season, Cloutier was named QMJHL First Team All-Star.  The following year, Cloutier topped his impressive stats from the 1977-78 season, playing in all 72 of his team's games and posting a 3.14 goals-against average (GAA), the lowest in the league.  At the end of the season, Cloutier was honored by once again being named QMJHL First Team All-Star.  He also won the 1978-79 Jacques Plante Trophy as top goaltender in the QMJHL. 
A starter in his first season as a pro, Cloutier played 62 games for Rochester his rookie year.  He finished the season with a 27-27-6 record, with a 3.61 GAA. 

Back in Rochester for the 1981-82 season, Cloutier got off to a great start, posting a 2.81 GAA in 23 games for the Amerks.  In January, 1982, Cloutier broke his collarbone, causing his to miss several months of action.  When he was ready to return, Cloutier was summoned to Buffalo.  Cloutier saw his first NHL action late in the 1981-82 season, backing up Sabres starter
Don Edwards.  In 7 games during the 1981-82 season, Cloutier allowed only 13 goals, posting an impressive 2.51 GAA, with a 5-1-0 record. 

Cloutier started the 1982-83 season in Buffalo as backup goaltender behind
Bob Sauve.  Cloutier spent the majority of the season in Buffalo, playing 25 games in relief of Sauve.  He also played 13 games for Rochester during the
season.   Near the end of the season, Cloutier was sent down to Rochester and replaced in the lineup by veteran goaltender Phil Myre.  Myre was the more experienced goalie, and, it was thought, better choice to have in the lineup going into the Playoffs.  In Rochester, Cloutier was the starting goaltender throughout the Playoffs as the Americans went on to the 1983 Calder Cup Championship. 

Cloutier would spend the entire 1983-94 season in Rochester, agaun bumped out of the Sabres lineup, this time by rookie sensation
Tom Barrasso.  Cloutier played 51 games in Rochester that year.  In the Playoffs, Cloutier led his team to the Calder Cup Finals for the second straight year as the Amerks lost to the Maine Mariners.
Size doesn't matter! - 5'7" Jacques Cloutier takes out Moscow Dynamo forward Sergei Yashin during a 1986 exhibition game.
Photo Credit: Bill Wippert
Cloutier and Tom Barrasso.
Photo Credit: Bill Wippert
Cloutier was back in Rochester for the start of the 1984-85 season.  In December, he was sidelined with torn ligaments in his knee.  The injury, one of many that would hamper Cloutier throughout his career, took him out of the lineup for the remainder of the season.  Unable to play, Cloutier spent the remainder of the season behind the bench, as an Assistant Coach under first-year Amerks coach John Van Boxmeer
After a lengthy rehabilitation of his injured knee, Cloutier returned to the ice in the winter of 1985.  Cloutier played 14 games in Rochester getting back into shape before being recalled to Buffalo as backup goaltender behind Barrasso.  In 15 games for the Sabres that year, Cloutier posted a 3.37 GAA.  On March 27, 1986, Cloutier recorded his first career shutout, blanking the Flyers in Philadelphia.
Cloutier was back in Buffalo in the fall of 1986, and for the first time in his professional career, would spend the entire season in the NHL.  With Barrasso struggling through injuries and bouts of lackluster play, Cloutier played 40 games for the Sabres.  He finished the 1986-87 season with 11 wins, 19 losses and 5 ties with a 3.79 GAA.  In what was a poor season all around, the Sabres finished dead last in the NHL standings.

Having played the entire season in Buffalo, splitting the starting duties with Barrasso, Cloutier should have had a firm grasp on the backup duties going into the 1987-88 season.  Instead, Cloutier found himself in a battle for the second spot on the depth chart with
Daren Puppa, an up-and-coming goaltender in the Sabres' system.  Drafted in 1983, Puppa had been Cloutier's backup during the 1984-85 season in Rochester.  Puppa had been playing extremely well coming into the 1987-88 season, and was putting pressure on the
affected Cloutier's preformance.  In his 20 games with the Sabres, Cloutier turned in a career-low 4.72 GAA.  In the post-season, Barrasso and Puppa shared the Sabres' goaltending duties while Cloutier was relegated to the press box.
Photo Credit: Bill Wippert
The 1988-89 season was certainly an unusual one for the Buffalo Sabres goaltending corps.  It began with a goaltender controversy and ended with one of the scariest moments in team history.  Throughout the course of the season, six different goaltenders strapped on the pads for the Sabres.  The season started with Puppa being named the backup to Tom Barrasso.  Cloutier was assigned to Rochester for the first time since the 1985-86 season.  Cloutier would play 11 games in Rochester before he was recalled to Buffalo.  Meanwhile, Barrasso and Puppa were involved in a heated battle for the starting spot.  Puppa started the season hot, while Barrasso, feeling the pressure, faltered.  The two didn't get along, and the friction between the two was played out in the local media, much to the chagrin of GM Gerry Meehan and the Sabres' Front Office.  The situation was finally resolved in mid-November, when Barrasso was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Puppa stepped into the starting job, while Cloutier was brought in as the backup. 

All was well until the end of January, 1989, when Puppa was sidelined with a broken arm, which ended his season.  Cloutier was thrust into the starting role, while rookie Darcy Wakaluk was brought in from Rochester to back him up.  Cloutier carried the brunt of the goaltending load through February, and began to suffer from exhaustion.  Meehan stepped in, and in early March
Following the injury to Malarchuk, Cloutier was again placed in the starting role for the Sabres.  He remained in that role for the rest of the season, backed up by Darren Eliot, the seventh different goaltender to play for Buffalo during the 1988-89 season.  Cloutier was in the nets for Game One of the team's opening round Playoff series against the Boston Bruins.  In his first NHL Playoff appearance, Cloutier recorded a 6-0 shutout win over the Bruins.  Despite his excellent play, Cloutier was benched for Game Two, in favor of Malarchuk, who hadn't seen action since his injury in late March.  Rusty from being out for nearly a month, Malarchuk was unable to hold off the Bruins attack.  The Sabres lost Game Two 5-3, in what proved to be the turning point in the series.  Cloutier was back for the final three games of the series.  Despite playing well, Cloutier couldn't help the Sabres pull out a series victory as the Bruins went on to win it in 5 games.

Daren Puppa returned to the Sabres lineup in time for the team's 1989 training camp.  With Puppa and Malarchuk both healthy going into the 1989-90 season, Cloutier was deemed expendable.  On September 28, 1981, Cloutier was dealt, along with a 6th Round pick in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft (Derek Edjerly), to the Chicago Blackhawks for future considerations.  The Sabres later received forward
Steve Ludzik and a 5th Round pick in 1990 (Todd Bojcum) to complete the deal.

Cloutier would spend the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons with the Blackhawks.  In 1989-90, Cloutier shared the starting role with Alain Chevrier.  Chevrier is better
Following his impressive 1978-79 season, Cloutier was taken in the Third Round of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres.

Cloutier turned pro in 1980, following his final season with Trois-Rivieres.  Cloutier was assigned to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League for the 1980-81 season.
made a trade with the Washington Capitals which brought goaltender Clint Malarchuk to Buffalo. 

The Sabres carried on with Malarchuk taking the lead throught March.  Malarchuk was in the midst of a hot streak when tragedy struck on March 22, 1989.  During the first period of a game against the St. Louis Blues at the Aud in Buffalo, Sabres defenseman
Uwe Krupp collided with Blues winger Steve Tuttle in front of the Buffalo net.  In the ensuing pile-up, Tuttle's skate came up and cut Malarchuk's neck, severing the jugular vein.  Miraculously, Malarchuk skated off the ice under his own power, and would return in time for the Playoffs. 
known to Sabres fans as the goaltender who was in net for New Jersey when Gilbert Perreault scored his 500th goal in 1986.  In 1990-91, Cloutier lost out on the starting duties to rookie Ed Belfour.  Cloutier played 10 games as Belfour's backup, before losing that job to another rookie, Dominik Hasek

In 1990, Cloutier was traded to the Quebec Nordiques for former Sabres teammate
Tony McKegney.  Cloutier would play three more seasons as a backup goaltender for the Nordiques.  He retired from professional hockey following the 1993-94 season. 

Upon retirement, Cloutier was hired as an Assistant Coach for the Nordiques' AHL affiliate, the Cornwall Aces.  While coaching the Aces, Cloutier also served as a part-time Goaltending Coach for the Nordiques.  In 1995 the Nordiques moved west to become the Colorado Avalanche.  Cloutier moved with the team, becoming the full time Goaltending Coach.  Midway through the 1995-96 season, Cloutier was promoted to Assistant Coach with the Avalanche, a position he still holds.  During his time as a coach in Colorado, Cloutier helped the Avalance win the Stanley Cup in both 1996 and 2001.

Honored for his achievements as a player and an Assistant Coach, Jacques Cloutier was inducted into the Rochester Americans Hall of Fame in 2000.
Sabres' coaching staff for more ice time.  Puppa got his ice time, at the expense of Cloutier, who found his games-played totals reduced from 40 in 1986-87 to 20 in 1987-88.  Puppa, meanwhile, appeared in 17 games with the Sabres.  The reduction in ice time, coupled with minor injuries that continued to nag him throughout the season, detrimentally
Complete career stats for Jacques Cloutier from
The Internet Hockey Database