Who Sits When Clutterbuck Makes Islanders Debut?


Clutterbuck

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It’s finally time for the New York Islanders to make their toughest decision of the season.

Cal Clutterbuck is expected to be activated this evening off the injured reserve list, and seems to be ready to make his Islanders debut this Friday night in Chicago; however, in order to make room in the line-up for the team’s off-season acquisition, the organization’s brass is going to have to decide on a player to sit – not an easy call with the team at 2-0-1 through the season’s first three games.

Of course, this “problem” is exactly the type of problem the Islanders wanted to have when they overloaded their roster with NHL-caliber forwards during the summer.  The roster has the proper depth in-place to keep the team pushing in the event of injury, slumps, etc., but again, the coaching staff still has a decision to make.

Who sits?

Before training camp began, it was clear that three Islanders – Peter Regin, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome – were battling for the same roster spot. After the first game of the preseason, Clutterbuck suffered a skate laceration, opening up two spots for the season’s opening. Regin and Nelson both made the team.

Now, three games into the season, Clutterbuck’s returning. The issue here is that Regin, the knee-jerk reaction to scratch before the season began, and Nelson have both been playing to keep their jobs, arguably to the point that they both deserve to stay.

Regin scored one goal and added one assist in last night’s victory over the Phoenix Coyotes, and Nelson add his first career NHL assist on said goal. Both have demonstrated tremendous chemistry with another on the ice, so with both playing remarkably well, is it possible another newcomer takes a seat?

Pierre-Marc Bouchard has struggled through the season’s first three games, and while it’s difficult to suggest the benching of a former 60-point scorer, is it too unreasonable to suggest he takes some time off to find where he fits on this roster during practice?

Bouchard has had a couple of scoring opportunities in his first games as a member of the Islanders, but with nothing to show for it, he could be the odd-man out.

And maybe you disagree with removing any of them. The Islanders have earned 5 out of a possible 6 points to start the season without Cal in the line-up. Maybe Capuano should leave the line-up as is, because don’t fix what isn’t broken, right?

I’ll leave it up to you, Isles fans. Who should sit when Cal Clutterbuck makes his Islanders debut?

Who sits when Cal Clutterbuck makes his Islanders debut?

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  • shlo

    Like most fans, for me it is “what have you done for me lately” and not what have you done 2 or 3 seasons ago. Snow has to put the best product he has on the ice and we can reasonably expect Cal to be better than Bouchard. Agree with the voters.

    • Chris Triantafilis

      Very fair, and PMB’s the player I’m inclined to bench also. Nothing against him, just hasn’t clicked yet. Not saying trade him, just save him for the next guy who slumps.

  • Calli Ricker

    As a wild fan id hate to see PMB benched so soon. he played his entire career in MN so it’s reasonable to give him a couple more games to try and find his groove. Maybe play him with Cal, those 2 were part of a good scoring line at one point a couple years ago. Glad cal made his usually faster than expected recovery. Its impossible to keep him away for long! Hes a grinder and will put in 100% day in and out. First one on and last one off. Good luck to you guys this season!

    • Chris Triantafilis

      Very excited to see Cal play [most likely] tomorrow night in Chicago! I also like PMB, but see he’s having a hard time finding his groove – lack of chemistry with the rest of the guys, for sure. Hard to discount his past success. Even if he’s benched, only a matter of time before they give him another shot.

  • Anthony Marino

    Kyle Okposo should sit
    Looks like another slow start this season, as he looks asleep in all 3 games so far

    • Chris Triantafilis

      I don’t know about that one, Anthony. I think he’s playing his game, but he’s definitely not gelling with Tavares and Moulson. Would rather see him on a different line before they make the decision to bench him.

      • cop

        the move to make would be to put Okie with Bailey and Franz, they had great chemistry whenever they played together. Grabby would be a great fit with JT and Moulson

        • Chris Triantafilis

          No, sir. Grabs plays better on lower lines – it’s fact. Keep Grabs in the middle-six. That second-line is playing too good to split up right now anyways.

          • cop

            i agree i wouldn’t want to touch the 2nd line right now, but i disagree that Grabby plays better on lower lines. he plays better with more ice time so he deserves to be on either line 1 or 2. the fact of the matter is that we know KO,Bailey and Nielsen have proven chemistry already, and why experiment with another linemate with JT when Grabby might be the most explosive player in the league.

          • Chris Triantafilis

            Check the numbers, man. Grabs has his best games/seasons when he plays around 13-15 minutes per game. Three point night came with under 14 minutes….2011-12, they had Grabner out there as a mainstay, and he wasn’t nearly as productive as he was in 2010-11 or 2013. This year:

            3 points in 14:43
            0 points in 16:02
            3 points in 13:47

            For whatever reason, it’s been the trend his entire Isles career. Grabs creates chances for himself – most goals/opportunities aren’t created by a linemate. He’s not an offensive juggernaut, nor is he a playmaker in the offensive zone – he’s a player who capitalizes on the north-south transitions of a game.

          • cop

            i don’t agree, he had 1 game with a lot of minutes. they played him mostly on the 3rd line last year. give him a whole season on the 1st or 2nd line and then compare the numbers. a 3 game sample isn’t nearly enough, but lets not argue about it, i think we both would like him to score 50 wherever or how many minutes he plays

          • Chris Triantafilis

            I agree. I think he can score 50 in any given year. Could this be it? Stay tuned, but it’s always in the realm of possibility for Grabs in October.

  • Shane Blackburn

    I would not be surprised to see McDonald be the one to sit out with Clutterbuck returning. I still want to see Bailey on that first line.

    • Chris Triantafilis

      I just want to see Clutterbuck play more than 9 minutes per game.

  • Anthony Marino

    If the first 3 games played so far are kyles game, than its weak and he should be benched. Put cal on that line and let’s see him bang some guys in the corners instead of jt having to do the dirty work. That’s why cal was signed, wasn’t it??

    • Chris Triantafilis

      I have felt Kyle has been playing well….he’s not a first-line player.

  • B Mayer

    Sit PMB and someone tell Kyle it’s April!

    • Chris Triantafilis

      I like how Kyle’s been playing – just not a 1st-line player.