May 07, 2014

Mathieu Garon Retires

Goaltender Mathieu Garon has announced his retirement. The 36-year-old goaltender played 13 seasons with Montreal, Los Angeles, Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Tampa Bay. He had spent the last season playing with Omsk of the KHL.

"For the past 13 years, I have been fortunate to earn my living playing hockey in the National Hockey League," Garon said in a statement.. "I wanted to take this opportunity to thank my teammates, coaches and, most importantly, the fans. Every city I played in, the fans always welcomed my family and me with open arms. I will cherish the memories and friendships I made during my career. Finally, I want to say a special thank you to my family, who have been incredibly supportive of me throughout my career. Without them, I wouldn't have been able to live my dream."

Garon was a second-round pick, 44th overall, by the Canadiens in the 1996 NHL draft. He was a very promising prospect. By 1998 he was named as the top junior goaltender in all of Canadian junior hockey. He also played for Canada's world junior team.

The Canadiens were deep in net at that time, with Jeff Hackett and Jose Theodore stopping pucks and Jaroslav Halak in the system too. Garon never really got much of a chance in Montreal, basically apprenticing in the minor leagues for 4 seasons.

In 2004 Garon was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. After the lost lockout season (Garon did play in the minors that season) Garon became king of the LA net, posting a 31-26-3 record in 63 games. He developed a reputation as a quick goalie who really took the bottom of the net away. He was streaky hot and cold but was entertaining to watch.

The Kings were not quite satisfied with Garon in net though. The next season they brought in veterans Sean Burke and Dan Cloutier and even a goalie from Japan, Yutaka Fukufugi. Garon was not resigned in the summer of 2007.

He found a home in Edmonton for 2007-08 where he may have had his best NHL season. He was 26-18-1 but the Oilers opted to go with veteran Dwayne Roloson. Garon, by now an official member of the vagabond hockey association, was off to Pittsburgh part way through the next season. He would only play in a total of 5 games in Pittsburgh, but he would win a Stanley Cup as Marc-Andre Fleury's back up.

Garon went on to play a couple of seasons in Columbus and Tampa Bay before exiting the NHL. His career numbers were 144-131-31 with a 2.83 GAA and 20 shutouts.

No comments: