Two of the New York Islanders forwards – Cal Clutterbuck and Andrew Ladd – who sustained big injuries last season are already on the mends and skating with the team.
Ladd suffered two significant injuries in 2018-19. On November 13th, he suffered a lower-body injury that kept him out of the lineup until the end of February. And then on March 13th, he tore his ACL, ending his season.
Clutterbuck ended his 2018-20 season by missing game four against the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round of the playoffs. Turns out his back was all kinds of messed up (subscription required). Clutterbuck had back surgery in the offseason to fix the list of issues he had.
Both are well enough to at least resume skating.
How Do They Fit?
There is no word yet if either is well enough to actually play, but the team will be able to sort that out before training camp is set to open.
So what does that mean for the roster?
In Cal Clutterbuck’s case, there isn’t an issue. His spot on the right-side of Casey Cizikas on the Islanders fourth line is set. So long as he’s well enough to play, of course.
For Andrew Ladd, it’s more complicated.
The left-shooting veteran winger was brought in as top-six support in the 2016 free agency window by GM Garth Snow. Over the past three seasons, it’s clear, Andrew Ladd isn’t a top-six player any longer.
Unfortunately for Ladd, the Islanders are over-stocked with bottom-six wingers. Leo Komarov, Tanner Fritz, Ross Johnston, Tom Kuhnhackl, Michael Dal Colle, and one of Anthony Beauvillier or Josh Ho-Sang. With Ladd, that’s eight players for two spots.
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Just like Clutterbuck, that’s assuming Ladd is healthy enough to play. Something that hasn’t yet been confirmed. And something we might not know until training camp opens. At the very least, it’s nice to see that both are at the very least healthy enough to resume skating.