Taking a train on the Long Island Railroad to Barclays Center, which will host the team's Sept. 21 preseason game against the New Jersey Devils, gave him a unique chance to grow better acquainted with the team. But the 25-year-old, who spent his first five NHL seasons with the Minnesota Wild, said he was still getting used to being an Islander.
"It's a long way from St. Paul, Minnesota, that's for sure," Clutterbuck said. "Getting on a train and coming down to the station with that many people. You don't see that many people in an entire week down in Minnesota. It's a little different, but there's definitely some nervous energy when you get out there the first day. You get used to one thing for five or six years and then it's a lot different when it changes."
Clutterbuck is expected to bring his signature physicality to the team and saw time skating alongside a number of potential Islanders linemates. Preseason speculation has him potentially playing alongside wing Matt Martin, who led the NHL last season with 234 hits. But after his first practice with his new team, Clutterbuck doesn't know just yet what to expect.
"I'm 45 minutes into it," Clutterbuck said. "I think you've just got to be yourself. The right fit will find you."
If there is one familiar element for Clutterbuck, it's the presence of captain John Tavares, who was a teammate of Clutterbuck's for two seasons with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. When Clutterbuck first heard about being traded to the Islanders, one of the first calls he received was from Tavares.
"I played two years with John. John and I go way back," Clutterbuck said. "He and a couple of guys reached out to me. We talked and we played some golf together in July. We caught up. It was good."
Now that training camp is underway, Clutterbuck doesn't plan on changing anything about his game as he finds his place on an up-and-coming Islanders roster.