It doesn't seem like ten years ago already that the NY Islanders acquired Cal Clutterbuck from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Nino Niederreiter at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Now, at 35 years old, Clutterbuck will remain a mainstay on the Islanders' fourth line with long-time line-mates Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin, heading into the 2022-23 season.
At last year's trade deadline, it was presumed likely that Clutterbuck may not even be a member of the Islanders going forward. His name was frequently mentioned as one that may be on the move to a contender as the Isles were barely treading water in the standings.
In typical Lou Lamoriello fashion, the opposite of what everyone expected is what ultimately came to fruition. Instead of trading Clutterbuck, Lamoriello decided to extend the hard-hitting winger, inking him to a two-year extension worth $3.5M ($1.75M AAV). Clutterbuck will be 36 years old at the expiration of his new contract.
"(I've) been here a long time. Believe in the direction, believe in the guys we got, and I really think we're gonna get this done. So I wanted to make sure that I was here to see that through"- Cal Clutterbuck on his new contract
Shortly after the announcement of Clutterbuck's extension, it was revealed that he would miss the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury that would require surgery.
Before his injury, Clutterbuck appeared in 59 games accruing 15 points (six goals, nine assists). The score sheet is not where the Welland, ON native, is most valuable, even though he has a very underappreciated shot. His value comes in the form of energy and hits. Clutterbuck currently sits second among the all-time hits leaders in NHL history (hits became a recorded stat beginning in 1997), only 72 back of the recently retired Dustin Brown.
Heading into this upcoming season, the Islanders know just what to expect from Clutterbuck. His value as a member of "the best fourth line in hockey," along with his ability as a penalty killer, is part of the success this core group of players has accomplished over the past few seasons. Clutterbuck and the fourth line will look to return to form this season, banging bodies and surging energy throughout the rest of the lineup and UBS Arena.
If all goes according to plan and Clutterbuck stays healthy for the majority of the season, he will reach 1,000 games played. Currently, the former third-round pick in 2006 sits at 933 games played (587 with the Islanders) and needs 67 more to reach the milestone.