Thursday, February 26, 2009

Roland Cloutier, "Mini Lafleur"


Roland Cloutier played a total of 34 NHL games over two seasons scoring 17 points, but what a start he had. On Oct.25 , 1978 Cloutier replaced an injured Andre St.Laurent with the Red Wings and tallied a goal in his Detroit Olympia debut. He scored five goals in his first three games on a makeshift line with Errol Thompson and fellow rookie Fern Leblanc. “Thank heavens for that line, they all were outstanding.” commented coach Bobby Kromm. Even higher praise came from Wings GM, Ted Lindsay who said Cloutier had the potential to be a “Mini-Guy Lafleur” Mini would be the operative word here as he stood only five-foot-eight and 160 pounds.

Cloutier had started the season with the Kansas City Red Wings of the Central League and would play a total of 19 games with the big club. The previous season he had notched 32 goals and 61 points in 59 games with K.C., and in his final year of junior he’d finished tenth in the Quebec League with 131 points. After his grand start with Detroit, Cloutier would score a mere one goal in his last 16 games before being sent back down. Lafleur he was not. He was re-claimed by the Nordiques after the WHA merger and tallied five points in fourteen games in 79/80.
After another mediocre AHL year in 80/81, Cloutier played seven seasons in France leading in goals twice and scoring over two points per contest.

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