Cal Clutterbuck’s 2015-2016 season was his best with the New York Islanders, but last year was a different story. It was evident that Clutterbuck suffered from not playing with Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas every game.
Cal Clutterbuck was inured for most of the year and was moved around from line to line when healthy. He never found the consistent level of play New York Islanders fans had been used to seeing. He even saw some time playing on the first line with John Tavares, let’s hope that’s not the case this season.
Clutterbuck is the iron man of the team. The agitator who can put the puck in the net and give you close to 82 games a year. While the production level may take a dip with age, I’m confident Clutterbuck can regain his old form with Doug Weight coaching the entire year.
Thanks to some new additions and up and coming rookies, Clutterbuck should be well planted on that fourth line. Cizikas and Clutterbuck should find the groove again of knowing they’ll be together all season. They may see a new line mate or two throughout the year on the left side but that should be no issue for these seasoned veterans.
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The fourth line will re-find their identity and get back to being one of the best in the NHL. Basically, for Clutterbuck, it’s a question of if he can stay healthy. Clutterbuck said he used new skates last year and that was the cause of his injuries. The skates were apparently causing groin injuries and he’s going back to his old skates this season.
The Islanders need him in the lineup to be successful. He provides a different type of spark that not a lot of players on the Islanders can do. He can fire up the team with one big hit and is probably the only guy left on the team that you wouldn’t want to mess with.
Clutterbuck only scored five goals last season and that must change. I would guess he will get back to his normal ways of production and find the back of the net 13 times this season.
Of course, three or four of those will have to come against the Rangers. I think he will also find himself getting some more helpers as he gets readjusted to his line mates. Expected 15-20 assists from Clutterbuck this season.
At the end of the day, I think the pressure comes off Clutterbuck this season and that will help him to produce. He had the spotlight on him last season after the Islanders were scrutinized for his contract extension.
He had the pressure to play well and in a hurry. Between that and being injured there was little room for him to succeed on the ice.
Clutterbuck will be the least of the Islanders worries this season. I fully expect him to get back to normal and be a big part of the Islanders push for a playoff spot. The Isles have Cal locked up until 2021-2022 so I hope I’m right.