Islanders: Cal Clutterbuck Expectations For 2021 Season
By Matt O'Leary
What can we expect from Cal Clutterbuck during the 2021 season for the New York Islanders after an injury-plagued 2020 season?
2019-2020 wasn’t too kind to Islanders veteran, Cal Clutterbuck. Clutter suffered a gruesome injury that caused him to get surgery after taking a scary skate slice to the wrist. Somehow, he came back to play roughly three months later.
On the ice, even when healthy, Clutterbuck wasn’t his usual self. In 37 games, he had just seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) which is paced out to just 16 points which would’ve been tied for his lowest total since joining the team.
Unfortunately, the Islanders usual fourth line of Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck rarely played together this season due to the numerous amounts of injuries that faced the unit. Right now, only Clutterbuck and Cizikas are under contract but the assumption is that Martin will be back too.
Can we expect a rebirth of that line in 2021?
Well, not exactly. This isn’t to say that the Islanders are going to have a terrible fourth line by any stretch of the imagination, I just don’t think they are going to be as effective as what they were six years ago.
For Clutterbuck specifically, I like that he found his physicality again in 2020. He had 127 hits which would’ve put him on pace for over 280 on the season after falling below 230 the previous three seasons.
Even with all the time missed last year, Cal Clutterbuck was fourth on the team in ice time for forwards on the penalty kill. I expect him to be the second-highest forward in ice time on the PK behind Casey Cizikas this season.
Over the 56 game season, I think we’ll see Cal play in 48 games. Like his linemate, Cizikas, Clutterbuck rarely comes close to playing a full season due to the physical nature of his role with the team.
I’ll say he has a slightly more productive offensive season as well. Clutterbuck will finish the season with 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists). Paced out over an entire season that would be 20 points (8 goals, 12 assists).
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The Islanders can live with that kind of production if he’s giving you a 250+ hit pace and solid play on the PK. If it’s another injury-prone season for Cal, I’m not sure how much longer we will be seeing “the greatest fourth line in hockey”.