While several of his teammates jetted off to soak up sun rays and sip fruity drinks on the beach, Cal Clutterbuck
and his girlfriend went back to the Toronto area to work on a house they are building for an offseason home.
“We made all the decisions that go into building a home,” said Clutterbuck. “There were a lot
more decisions than either of us thought there would be.”
Perhaps some of those decisions will be a little easier to handle after Clutterbuck signed a contract extension to remain with the Minnesota Wild. The second-year right wing will be drilling opponents, exuberantly celebrating goals and cracking his Wild teammates up for at least the next three years.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said the NHL record holder for hits in a season with 356 in 2008-2009. “There is no other place I would want to be. I love playing here. The team is in really good shape. This is exactly where I want to be for at least another three years.”
Clutterbuck, who was due to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, becomes the first current Wild player to sign an extension during the 2009-2010 season. It was an easy decision for Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher to make.
“Cal is an intense competitor who has quickly become a fan favorite with the Wild,” said the first-year GM. “We look forward to watching his development for years to come.”
The third-round pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft already has developed considerably in just his second year. Despite missing five games in October with a high ankle sprain, Clutterbuck has already surpassed his 11-goal total from last year with 12 this season. His next point will surpass his 18 points from a season ago.
And while Clutterbuck envisions himself eventually scoring “20 goals, maybe 30” in a season, he knows it’s his energy that is most needed on this team, as evidenced by him leading the NHL in hits once again with 252 this season.
“Definitely there’s a comfort level to being on a one-way contract for the next three years, but I’m not going to let up at all. I still have to play hard every night and that’s never going to change.”
That’s exactly why he has endeared himself to his hometown fans. Clutterbuck’s number 22 jersey is the most popular jersey sold at the Wild’s Hockey Lodge locations. Every one of his hits (especially those delivered to the likes of Dion Phaneuf, Ryan Kesler and Sean Avery) are met with raucous cheers.
That feeling of adoration is mutual for “Clutter.”
“I’m extremely happy that people here want me to be here just as much as I want to be here. A lot of times you don’t find that in hockey these days, and fortunately I’ve found it,” he said.
“I love the city. The people are so nice. They love their hockey, and that’s the big thing. People are so knowledgeable and passionate about the game, and those are the people I enjoy being around. The people, the fans and the organization; all those things put together make me really excited to be here.”
And Wild fans will be excited for him to be here, his home away from his soon-to-be-built home.