Earlier today, the New York Islanders and Cal Clutterbuck came to an agreement on a 4-year deal worth $11M. The new deal keeps the newly-acquired Clutterbuck on Long Island through the 2016-17 season, costing the Islanders an affordable $2.75M against the salary cap per season.
We have yet to see Clutterbuck on the ice, wearing the Islanders' crest, but Clutterbuck's deal should be an indicator that the Islanders truly got their man in last week's trade, which saw Nino Niederreiter shipped over to Minnesota. With the extension of Clutterbuck, the deal, berated by many Isles' fans, now reads a little bit more into the Islanders' favor: "a former 5th-overall pick for an integral piece to the Islanders' franchise."
Cal Clutterbuck is already a proven NHL-talent. He's a commodity. He may never become the goal scorer that Nino Niederreiter is projected to be, but Clutterbuck provides the immediate, gritty help to the Islanders that Nino Niederreiter, potentially, may never be able to give. The Islanders needed to add proven NHL ability, and they added that in this particular trade.
Great. We knew that already. Still, "trading top-end potential for a bottom-six winger is wrong." What if I told you the Islanders' envisioned Clutterbuck as more.
With his new contract, Clutterbuck becomes more than just a bottom-six installment, but a long-term solution in the Islanders' bottom-six structure. Clutterbuck's new deal keeps Cal with the Islanders through the 2016-17 season, a feat matched only by the contracts of John Tavares and Travis Hamonic. Clearly, the Islanders' see him as an integral piece to the organization, as this deal clearly indicates the Isles' brass didn't simply give up a projected top-talent for a stop-gap, but for a piece that would contribute on Long Island for years to come.
Of course, it's still too early to declare a winner in this deal. It will take a few years to see how the careers of Nino Niederreiter and Cal Clutterbuck pan out. Nino Niederreiter could become a consistent 30-goal presence in Minnesota, but Cal Clutterbuck could become a valuable piece to the Islanders' vision.
At the moment, however, the trading of Nino Niederreiter's unproven, top-5 ability, plus the addition of Cal Clutterbuck's proven track record at the NHL-level gives the Islanders immediate value for the upcoming 2013-14 season. Combine that with his new contract, and the Islanders add a valuable piece that extends beyond Nino's potential.
It's official. On draft day, the New York Islanders added another piece to their core.
I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
Let's go Islanders!