Réal Cloutier

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Réal Cloutier
Born (1956-06-30) June 30, 1956 (age 57)
Saint-Émile, QC, CAN
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Left
Played for WHA
Quebec Nordiques
NHL
Quebec Nordiques
Buffalo Sabres
AHL
Rochester Americans
NHL Draft 9th overall, 1976
Chicago Black Hawks
Playing career 1974–1985

Réal Cloutier (born July 30, 1956) is a retired Canadian ice hockey winger. Cloutier spent his most prolific years in the World Hockey Association (WHA) with the Quebec Nordiques. As the WHA folded, he played the remainder of his career with the Quebec Nordiques and the Buffalo Sabres in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Playing career[edit]

Touted as one of the most promising prospects in the history of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Cloutier played junior hockey for the Quebec Remparts, leading his team to back to back Memorial Cup finals in 1973 and 1974. His final season with the Remparts saw him score 216 points to lead the team in scoring.

At the time the National Hockey League did not allow teenagers to play, so Cloutier signed with the Quebec Nordiques of the World Hockey Association and made an immediate impact in his 1974–75 rookie season. He scored 26 goals and helped the Nordiques to the AVCO Cup finals.

The next season saw Cloutier break into stardom, as he scored 60 goals to begin a streak of four seasons of at least 56 goals. In 1976–77 season, he scored 66 goals and 141 points to lead the WHA in scoring, adding 14 goals and 13 assists in 17 playoff games to lead the Nordiques to their only AVCO Cup championship. His best goal scoring season came in the WHA's final season of 1978–79, when he scored 75 goals, at the time the third highest total in professional history.[citation needed]

Upon the WHA's merger with the NHL in 1979, Quebec traded its first round draft choice (which would turn into future superstar Denis Savard) to the Chicago Black Hawks, which held Cloutier's NHL rights, to prevent the Hawks from reclaiming him before the expansion draft. He proved to be a consistent scorer in the NHL, scoring 42 goals in 1979–80, and, although he was slowed by injuries, 37 and 28 goals his last two full seasons with the Nordiques.

In 1983 Cloutier's time in Quebec came to an end as he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Tony McKegney, André Savard, and Jean-François Sauvé. In Buffalo he reportedly clashed with Sabres' coach Scotty Bowman, who had a long history of benching offensive players whom he felt were not paying sufficient attention to defensive play, and although he scored a credible 24 goals and 60 points in his only full season for the Sabres, he was sent to the minor leagues the next year, retiring thereafter at the age of 28.

Cloutier retired as the fourth leading scorer in WHA history with 283 goals, 283 assists and 566 points in 369 games, adding 33 goals and 30 assists in 48 playoff games. In 317 NHL games, he scored 344 points.

Awards[edit]

Records[edit]

  • Third all-time in the WHA for goals scored, eleventh in assists and fourth in points.
  • Second player to score a hat trick in his NHL debut. (After Alex Smart, followed by Fabian Brunnström and Derek Stepan.)
  • He was the youngest pro hockey player in history to score 100 goals (20 years, 89 days until he was passed by Mark Napier
  • He was the youngest pro hockey player in history to score 200 goals (21 years, 229 days until he was passed by Wayne Gretzky
  • He was the youngest pro hockey player in history to score 300 goals (23 years, 124 days until he was passed by Wayne Gretzky
  • He was the youngest pro hockey player in history to score 400 goals (26 years, 209 days until he was passed by Wayne Gretzky

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1972–73 Quebec Remparts QMJHL 57 39 60 99 15
1973–74 Quebec Remparts QMJHL 69 93 123 216 40
1974–75 Quebec Nordiques WHA 63 26 27 53 36 12 4 3 7 2
1975–76 Quebec Nordiques WHA 76 60 54 114 27 5 4 5 9 0
1976–77 Quebec Nordiques WHA 76 66 75 141 39 17 14 13 27 10
1977–78 Quebec Nordiques WHA 73 56 73 129 19 10 9 7 16 15
1978–79 Quebec Nordiques WHA 77 75 54 129 48 4 2 2 4 2
1979–80 Quebec Nordiques NHL 67 42 47 89 12
1980–81 Quebec Nordiques NHL 34 15 16 31 18 3 0 0 0 10
1981–82 Quebec Nordiques NHL 67 37 60 97 34 16 7 5 12 10
1982–83 Quebec Nordiques NHL 68 28 39 67 30 4 0 0 0 0
1983–84 Buffalo Sabres NHL 77 24 36 60 25 2 0 0 0 0
1984–85 Flint Generals IHL 40 11 25 36 6
1984–85 Rochester Americans AHL 12 4 3 7 0
1984–85 Buffalo Sabres NHL 4 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 317 146 198 344 119 25 7 5 12 20

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Andre Savard
Quebec Nordiques first round draft pick
1974
Succeeded by
Pierre Mondou
Preceded by
Greg Vaydik
Chicago Blackhawks first round draft pick
1976
Succeeded by
Doug Wilson