By 2013 the lack of youth development with the Islanders was already a well-established theme. Aside from John Tavares, the Islanders were having a tough time developing their prospects. And Nino Niederreiter was no exception.
Selected fifth overall in the 2010 NHL Draft, there were high hopes for the Swiss-born player. But for some reason, the Islanders just didn’t want to give him a top-six role. They kept slotting Niederreiter in the bottom half of the lineup or worse, kept him in Bridgeport. (Sound familiar?)
Niederreiter had enough of the games and in January of 2013, it was reported that Niederreiter requested a trade from the Islanders. And some six months later, the Islanders found a suitor in the Minnesota Wild.
The Isles got Cal Clutterbuck and a third-round pick for their former fifth overall pick.
Clutterbuck was at best a good fourth line player. With 34 points as a Wild, there was never a question that the Islanders would get that type of production from Cal. They’d get solid two-way play with an incredible physical impact on any game he played in.
Cool, but what about the production? Cause Nino would go on to put up 57 points in a single season with the Wild. And, you know, kinda live up to his draft billing. Top five still seems generous, but a top half first rounder without question.
This was a bad trade for the Isles. They gave up a great prospect and got back a piece that they could have found elsewhere for much, much cheaper.