MINUS: An Injury Ridden Career
It is no secret that Cal Clutterbuck has struggled immensely with staying healthy these past few years. The forward has not played a full season during his 16-year career and hasn't played more than 60 games since 2018-29.
The Islanders are a team looking to get younger and faster, with Simon Holmstrom, Julien Gauthier, Hudson Fasching, and Ross Johnston fighting for a roster spot - specifically Clutterbuck's roster spot. During the 2022-23 season, Clutterbuck averaged only 12:13 TOI per game. His overall TOI has been decreasing steadily as his injuries increase.
While his focus may not be on the future, it needs to be on remaining healthy and letting his body rest. Clutterbuck's missed games have not been of his own volition. The 2023-24 season needs to be the time when Clutterbuck makes the decision for himself on whether he is truly ready. For a team set to compete, Clutterbuck needs time to rest and adequately recuperate this season, something he's hardly had time to do. If it comes down to playing a healthy Johnston or a half-healthy Clutterbuck, it may be in his best interest to take the night off and allow his body to heal.
If Clutterbuck plays at 90% on a team that needs to be playing at 110% every time they step foot on the ice, we may see the 35-year-old receive the same treatment former longest-tenured Islander Josh Bailey received throughout the 2022-23 season from fans and coaching staff alike.