Cal Clutterbuck was traded to the New York Islanders on June 30th, 2013, for a 3rd round pick and Nino Niederreiter. For the last seven years, Islander fans have watched Clutterbuck become a staple of the best 4th line in the league. But, his glory days are fully behind him now. Clutterbuck isn’t the hard-hitting instigator who can snipe the toy department in crunch time that he used to be. Clutterbuck was injured most of this year with an unfortunate skate laceration to the wrist, and that won’t affect my judgment of his play. I just don’t see the real Clutterbuck anymore. I believe this is the end of the road for #15 on the island.
Salary Cap Issues
The Islanders are in some serious need of cap space relief. General manager Lou Lamoriello has to make some serious moves to retain stars like Mat Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Devon Toews, Ilya Sorokin, and Adam Pelech. Clutterbuck made 3.5 million dollars for the 19′-20′ season, and his cap hit will decrease to 2.5 million dollars for the next two years. $2.5 million doesn’t seem like a lot, but the Islanders need every thousand upon millions of dollars that they can get. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to move Clutterbuck’s contract to a contending team and getting a 3rd or 4th round pick back.
The Islanders have many NHL ready prospects, but no space for them to actually play. The Islanders need a place in the lineup for Kieffer Bellows, Oliver Wahlstrom, Otto Koivula, and Simon Holmstrom (when the time comes). The New York Islanders need new blood, fresh, young, fast, exciting young blood. These young players have abilities that this version of Cal Clutterbuck can’t offer. There’s only so many years a prospect is going to wait their turn to play patiently. Clutterbuck, if moved, has to be moved as soon as possible.
The Counter Argument
Cal Clutterbuck has an insane amount of chemistry with linemates Matty Martin and Casey Cizikas. Clutterbuck was also an assistant captain during the 2016-2017 season. Though this doesn’t matter, Garth Snow made him assistant captain, not Lou Lamoriello. Also, it’s very possible the Islanders let Matty Martin walk this free agency. Lamoriello may look to get rid of Clutterbuck as well.
Cal Clutterbuck’s time with the New York Islanders is possibly over. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lamoriello decides to make Clutterbuck take a pay cut. These decisions will be made over his play in the playoffs. Clutterbuck is synonymous with the Islanders in the 2010s.