Another NY Islanders season, another year of seeing the decline of the once-powerful identity line. More specifically, this year continued to see the decline of the Islanders' fourth-line right wing, Cal Clutterbuck. While Clutterbuck has a special place in many Islanders fans' hearts, myself included, it is time to be honest with ourselves, he has lost a big step.
NY Islanders 2022-23 player report card: Cal Clutterbuck
Since joining the Islanders back in 2013, Clutterbuck has shown that he is an integral part of the NY Islanders offense. Alongside his linemates, Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin, Clutterbuck was the third member of what was once the best fourth line in all of hockey, the identity line. While it is obvious that he is not as young as he used to be, it is really becoming apparent on the ice.
For the fourth year in a row, Cal Clutterbuck has failed to pick up at least 20 points. Last year, Clutterbuck played in 59 games, tallying just 15 points on six goals and nine assists. Unfortunately, this year was no better. On the year, Clutterbuck played in 10 fewer games, 49 in total, and tallied 12 points off of six goals and six assists. While he may be on the Islanders' fourth line, it doesn't matter as these numbers are not good enough for any team, for any player, on any line.
Clutterbuck is a beast on the ice and plays the type of hockey that teams would love to have. He is about as physical as they come. However, it seems that after years of his physical play, injuries are starting to catch up to him. All in all, Clutterbuck is not the player who he used to be. Father time catches all of us, and there's nothing wrong with that.
His production is down a great deal, he's slower than he used to be on the ice, and he has trouble getting to the right spot on defense, which causes a lot of shots on the net for the other team. Simply put, it could be a time sooner than later that Clutterbuck hangs it up. All the respect in the world for him for all he accomplished here, but the time for reality has come. With all things considered, Cal Clutterbuck gets a D+ for the 2022-23 NHL season.