29-Year-Old Right Wing – New York Islanders
Cal Clutterbuck Contract Information:
Signed a four-year deal with the Islanders in July of 2013.
Clutterbuck (upper body) is in the lineup for Friday's game against the Sharks.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Cal Clutterbuck.
If hits were the most important metric in fantasy hockey, then Clutterbuck would be a perennial top pick. Unfortunately for him, they are not. Playing on arguably the best fourth line in all of hockey, Clutterbuck scored seven goals and nine assists in 76 games. Despite being just 5-foot-11, Clutterbuck still put up an astounding 343 hits, and together with bruising linemate Matt Martin, created an absolutely terrifying tandem where no players are safe from constant body checks. While his fantasy impact may be suppressed due to his low point totals, in leagues where hits matter, he’s one of the best options to solidify that category. He's also shown a deft touch around the net from time to time, and his penalty-killing prowess gives him value in other specialized formats, as he’s been known to pot a shorthanded goal or two every year.
Clutterbuck was acquired from the Wild to give the Islanders another gritty winger - someone who isn't afraid to throw his body around in an attempt to get the opposing team to worry about taking a hit rather than clearing the puck. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, he is only valuable in those leagues that have hits as a category and even in those leagues, he will be kept to about 15 goals, probably none of which will come on the power play.
The trade for Clutterbuck is going to be looked at for a long time by the media and fans alike. Clutterbuck is a bottom-six forward whose greatest value to the team will be as someone who isn't afraid to do the dirty work, as in get in the corners and muck it up. There are a couple of problems with this kind of player. First, his offensive upside is limited, especially playing with lackluster talent on the third and fourth lines. Second, the Isles traded former first-round pick (fifth overall) Nino Niederreiter to obtain his services, a trade that can best be described as selling low. Things won't be pretty if Niederreiter starts to reach his potential and Clutterbuck bombs. Last, a Clutterbuck type would seem to be the kind of player that a team would want to acquire when they are one piece away from completing the puzzle. The Islanders may be on their way, but they are not one piece away.
Clutterbuck is the Wild’s sparkplug and one of several Minnesota players whose value extends far beyond the stat sheet. Regularly one of the league’s leaders in hits, Clutts has value in leagues that reward secondary categories such as penalty minutes and hits. He notched four shorthanded goals last season and registered over 100 penalty minutes. Should he see some time on the team’s top lines -- and we'd love to see him creating space for Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu on the top line -- Clutterbuck could be looking at a 20-goal, 100 penalty minute season.
Thinking quickly, what comes to mind when you hear the name Clutterbuck? If you thought hits, we'd understand. After all, the 23-year-old winger led the league with 318 hits last season. But the aggressor has also shown some offensive prowess, having notched 19 goals and 15 assists in 2010-11. Actually, Clutterbuck has seen his point totals rise in each successive year that he's been in the NHL. He's certainly not the most exciting fantasy pick, and his feisty playing style occasionally invites injuries, but it's hard to ignore the vast improvement Clutterbuck has shown offensively since the Wild made him its third-round draft pick in 2006.
Clutterbuck plays an ultra-aggressive style that is built on solid defensive play, shot blocking and going to the net. He falls into the category of having more real-life value than fantasy value. Clutterbuck was expected to be useful in leagues that reward penalty minutes, but he declined in that category last season. In a league that counts hits, he's a category killer as he posted over 300 hits for a second consecutive season.
Clutterback will return to the Wild in his sophomore campaign in the same role as his rookie season, as an enforcer and protector of the team's less pugilistic players. He could be in to 100 PIM range this season. He's a category killer for leagues that count hits, as he had a new NHL record of 313 hits last season.
Clutterbuck is currently in the minor leagues where he has shown flashes of promise as a member of AHL's Houston Aeros. What Cal brings to the table is a relentless work ethic, leadership qualities and playmaking abilities. The 23-year-old tore up the OHL playing for the Oshawa Generals and Toronto St. Michael's Majors, most notably his 2005 and 2006 seasons in which he deposited 35 goals in both years. Branko Radivojevic is no longer with the Wild, so Clutterbuck could be first in line for a call-up. Until that happens, he is fantasy free agent fodder