It's unfortunate to see things transpiring the way they are for NY Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck, but unfortunately he's really struggled to stay healthy this season. In the second period of Thursday nights game against the Buffalo Sabres, Clutterbuck took a bump that seemed to re-injure his right hand, something the 35-year-old winger continues to deal with. According to Lane Lambert, Clutterbuck's status is that he'll remain out indefinitely. As a result Aatu Räty is back with the Islanders despite the possibility that they will burn a year of his contract if he plays in three more games.
We reported a few weeks ago that because Räty signed his entry-level contract at the age of 18 in August of 2021, if he eclipses the threshhold of 10 games played at the NHL level, the Islanders will burn a year of his contract. Currently, Räty has seven games under his belt before he was reassigned to the Bridgeport Islanders a few weeks ago. Now that he's been recalled and Clutterbuck is out indefinitely, it feels likely that Räty could stick around for a while.
Further evidence that Räty could remain is that they play in five more contests before the All-Star break. According to Andrew Gross following morning skate on Saturday, Lambert remains hopeful Kyle Palmieri can return before the break, but "his voice certainly didn't convey any conviction that was going to happen."
So Räty might be sticking around with the Islanders, something he'll surely be giddy about. When he was asked about the his thoughts on burning a year of his contract, he responded:
"I want to play as many games as I can. That's not really on my mind that much. Just gotta focus on the games and then try to be as good as I can."
The lines at morning skate revealed that Casey Cizikas has been elevated to Mathew Barzal's line on the right wing and Räty is centering the fourth line with Matt Martin and Ross Johnston. When Lambert was asked if Räty could be used in a top-six role, he responded: "certainly that's the ultimate objective for him for sure."