Earlier this morning, New York Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck returned to practice, nearly three weeks after suffering a skate laceration to his leg during the team’s preseason-opening tilt against the Calgary Flames. Cal, who was placed on IR retroactive to September 17, skated in a non-contact jersey on the team’s third-line alongside Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
Initially, Clutterbuck was expected to miss [up to] the season’s first month of play, so this is positive news for an Islanders team that may get one of their top offseason additions on the ice earlier than the initial timetable suggested.
A relentless hitting machine and a sparkplug capable of scoring a few goals, Cal adds toughness and peskiness to an already feisty Islanders organization. With Clutterbuck on the team’s third-line, and Matt Martin on the team’s fourth-line, opposing line-ups are going to spend a lot more time worrying about that next time they’re crunched into the boards, which means more mistakes by the opposition and more turnovers for the Islanders. Either Clutterbuck or Martin has led the league in hits in each of the last five seasons.
Clutterbuck was acquired in exchange for Nino Niederreiter at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, and was given a four-year deal worth $11 million soon after.