The New York Islanders’ physical presence was close to absent last season. Resigning the gritty Cal Clutterbuck should help their case. But it’s not enough if the Islanders want to compete against the physical teams.
Ever since Matt Martin left, the New York Islanders have lost that physical edge. Let’s face it, that fourth line of Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck was so effective because of the grit and physicality they played with. I wouldn’t even call it the fourth line because it was just as good as any other line, if not better.
I’m a big fan of Clutterbuck and his agitating antics but he needs to do better than 20 points (5G 15A). The five year $3.5 mil extension he was given shows that he is clearly valued by this team.
New York Islanders
Basically, the only Islander willing to drop the gloves is defenseman Scott Mayfield. We’ve seen Thomas Hickey get in on the fighting. However, a 6ft 180lb d-man doesn’t really scream enforcer. But hey, props for trying.
The Effectiveness of Clark Gillies
What the New York Islanders need is a Clark Gillies type player, a power forward that can stand up for himself and his teammates.
Gillies was just a good all around hockey player and a key member of 80s dynasty teams. He would put up 70, 80 even 90 points in a season and make enforcers look silly by throwing a single punch.
Gillies was feared for his fighting among the league. Islanders star players like Mike Bossy weren’t going to be pushed around with a player like Gillies on the team. He helped establish those late 70s and early 80s teams as a force to be reckoned with.
A couple of players that come to mind in today’s game are Philadelphia Flyers players Wayne Simmonds and Milan Lucic of the Edmonton Oilers. But the Islanders don’t necessarily need to go out and get these players.
It would be great if some of the current Islanders are able to take a page out of the Isles legend’s playbook. I could definitely see Anders Lee fitting into this role considering his size, or even Jason Chimera.
Physicality is an underrated part of the game. It’s an area in which the New York Islanders certainly need to improve on moving forward into next season.