New York Islanders Need Cal Clutterbuck to Re-Emerge

By Tim Ryder
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 18: Cal Clutterbuck
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 18: Cal Clutterbuck /
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LAS VEGAS, NV – JANUARY 25: Cal Clutterbuck /

New York Islanders acquire Cal Clutterbuck for Nino Niederreiter

Originally thought to be a Sean Avery-with-some-offense type of player, Cal Clutterbuck certainly has shown he has a deep and diverse back of tricks. Since coming to the New York Islanders in a trade for Nino Niederreiter in 2013, Clutterbuck’s justified the move in a number of ways.

At the time, trading an elite prospect for a secondary piece to the puzzle had New York Islanders fans a bit taken aback. Even those who were familiar with Cal Clutterbuck’s unique combination of skills from his time with the Wild were not completely sold on the idea.

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Niederreiter was projected to become an eventual All-Star and Clutterbuck was projected to be a third-line winger who could rally the troops and score the occasional goal.

It didn’t add up. Then we watched Clutterbuck play and we saw the big picture.

What has Cal Clutterbuck meant the New York Islanders?

Cal Clutterbuck has been fairly productive offensively since the New York Islanders traded for him in 2013.

Though, it’s the leadership qualities that Clutterbuck demonstrates that are more valuable to the Isles than any of his offensive exploits. In a sense, that’s exactly why the Islanders acquired him in the first place.

Sure, no one had any way of knowing that Niederreiter wasn’t going to pan out as a top-tier NHL player. New York Islanders GM Garth Snow would have been physically thrown out of his office by an angry mob if Nino Niederreiter turned into half of the player he was supposed to become. But and he didn’t and here we are.

Thankfully, the Islanders have not had to withstand any of that type of backlash. Cal Clutterbuck has been a more productive player than Nino Niederreiter in all areas of comparison. If and when Niederreiter develops into the star he was supposed to be remains yet to be seen. If it happens, then we’ll revisit the trade.