August 20, 1977
6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
210 lb (95 kg; 14 st 0 lb)
Hartford Wolf Pack
New York Islanders
190th overall, 1996
Los Angeles Kings
|Career||2000 – present|
Stephen "Steve" Valiquette (born August 20, 1977 in Etobicoke, Ontario) is a Canadian goaltender for currently playing for the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League. He was drafted in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings in the eighth round, 190th overall.
In 1998, he signed as a free agent with the New York Islanders and made his NHL debut on March 9, 2000 against the Phoenix Coyotes. He replaced Kevin Weekes after he had let in four goals. Valiquette played 20 minutes in that game, facing five shots, saving four. He appeared in six games in the 1999–2000 season and won two games.
In 2003, after a three-year NHL hiatus, Valiquette signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Edmonton Oilers. Three months after this signing, he was claimed on waivers by the Florida Panthers in the NHL waiver draft on October 3, 2003. Six days later he was claimed back by the Edmonton Oilers. He appeared in one game with Edmonton and played 14 minutes. Valiquette spent the balance of the 2003–04 season with the Toronto Roadrunners of the American Hockey League, playing in 35 games.
On March 3, 2004, Valiquette was traded by the Oilers, along with forward Dwight Helminen and a second-round selection in the 2004 draft to the New York Rangers for center Petr Nedvěd and goaltender Jussi Markkanen. For the 2004–05 season, Valiquette was re-signed by the Rangers and sent to their American Hockey League affiliate, Hartford Wolf Pack. He then signed with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in Russia on April 26, 2005.
In July 2006, the Rangers decided to re-sign Valiquette to be the back-up for Henrik Lundqvist following the depature of goalie Kevin Weekes to the New Jersey Devils. Since then, Valiquette had been the backup goaltender for the New York Rangers., until he was waived and sent back to Hartford on December 3, 2009. On March 3, 2007, he won his first game in the NHL in almost three years.
When Valiquette made his playing debut in 2000, he was the tallest goaltender to ever play a game in the NHL at 6-foot-6. Ben Bishop, standing 6-foot-7, has since surpassed Valiquette as the tallest NHL goaltender.
On January 31, 2008, against the Philadelphia Flyers, Valiquette got his first shutout of his NHL career. Ten days later, on February 9, he would repeat this feat in a 2–0 win, also against the Flyers. On February 6, 2009, he let 10 goals in a single game (a 10-2 loss to Dallas), a league worst for the season.
Valiquette appeared in his first career NHL playoff games with the Rangers during the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Washington Capitals when he relieved starter Henrik Lundqvist for the third period of games five and six, playing 40 minutes and allowing no goals on nine shots.