2015-16 Season: Cal Clutterbuck turned in his best season in blue and orange last year, setting personal Islanders highs with 15 goals and 23 points. Clutterbuck made up one-third of the Islanders’ highly effective fourth line last season, bringing a blend of speed, a lethal wrist shot and punishing physicality (fourth in the NHL with 288 hits).
Clutterbuck delivered in the clutch for the Islanders last season, tying leading scorer and captain John Tavares with a team-high five game-winning goals - three coming in the last month of the season. The 28-year-old netted a late winner against the New York Rangers on March 6, capped off a furious comeback against the Florida Panthers on March 14 and scored the tying and winning goals against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 26.
Clutterbuck was also a key penalty killer for the Islanders, averaging 1:58 SH TOI per game last season on the league’s fourth-ranked penalty kill (84.5%). Clutterbuck scored a pair of shorthanded goals to boot.
In the playoffs, Clutterbuck potted two goals and an assist in 11 games.
Highlight Reel Moment: Clutterbuck scores game-winning goal against the Rangers (March 6, 2016)
The Look Ahead: Clutterbuck recaptured the scoring touch from his days in Minnesota last season and rose to the occasion in big moments. Clutterbuck may have the quickest wrist shot on the team, is one of the Islanders’ fastest skaters and is an effective penalty killer. A lot of that used to get overshadowed by his propensity for throwing hits and getting under the skin of the opposition, but Clutterbuck really does it all.
He’s not a prototypical fourth-liner, but the Islanders do not have a prototypical fourth line. Oftentimes Jack Capuano puts Clutterbuck and Co. out after a goal to either change or maintain momentum and has no qualms putting them out during the last minute of a game. Some nights, the “fourth line” designation hardly seems fair.
Clutterbuck has found a groove with the Islanders, especially with linemate and PK partner Casey Cizikas. Building off of last year would be huge for the Islanders, but even just repeating last season would be a very good year for Clutterbuck.