Dan Cloutier, Roland Melanson switch roles for Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks have had one of the most reliable and competent goaltending development systems in the NHL over the last few years, with Roland Melanson coaching at the NHL level for the past six seasons and the up-and-coming Dan Cloutier serving as the development coach in the American Hockey League for the past four.
There were reports late in the season Melanson would leave the Canucks when his contract expired this summer, in large part because of his family situation. It would have been a blow to an organization with a strong track record of developing goaltenders under his watch, but now they’ve confirmed that the two goaltending coaches have simply swapped roles.
Vancouver announced Tuesday that Cloutier has been named the new goaltending coach for the Canucks for the upcoming 2016-17 season, while Melanson will work with the Utica Comets and other prospects as the team’s goaltending development coach moving forward, a part-time role that allows him to stay closer to family back east and ease off on his work load.
Melanson had other NHL opportunities, which isn’t surprising considering the role he played in the development of Cory Schneider, Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom during his time with the Canucks. Multiple sources have confirmed to InGoal Magazine that Melanson was the first choice for the still vacant Ottawa Senators goaltending coach position. Instead, he opted to remain in Vancouver’s system, keeping the coaches who have worked with some of Vancouver’s best goaltenders close at hand at both the major and minor league level, an important development with highly touted NCAA prospect Thatcher Demko turning pro this season.
Per the Canucks, head coach Willie Desjardins suggests that the news is especially good, as Cloutier is familiar with Markstrom. He worked with him extensively during his stint with the Comets; bringing the coach that coaxed some of Markstrom’s best numbers out to help him full-time at the NHL level should be good for the team’s development in net.
— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) June 14, 2016
There has been plenty of turmoil for the Canucks in recent weeks. Controversial trades have put the Pacific Division club, who missed the postseason and will draft fifth overall this summer, in the spotlight league-wide; it’s nice to see the club make an announcement that few can spin as anything but beneficial for the team at all levels involved.