When the news broke during the NHL Entry Draft that the Islanders had acquired Cal Clutterbuck from the Minnesota Wild for Nino Niederreiter, there was a collective ‘Wow” from the bloggers in attendance sitting in a clump in the Coliseum. After the initial shock wore off and the “I knew Nino would be traded” conversation ended, the daydreaming of where to put Clutterbuck began.
InsideHockey.com writer Brad Kurtzberg smiled when he thought, “Can you imagine a line of Clutterbuck, Martin and Cizikas?” We pondered for a moment. “It would be Hanson Brothers of the New York Islanders.” The imagine of the three in big black glasses with white stick tape immediately came to mind and the smiles got bigger. (I’ll have to see if I can get Steve Carlson to send me some.)
But the reality is, maybe that’s not so far fetched. How intimidating would it be to see this CCM line facing any team’s top line? A Left Wing, a Right Wing and a Center who are all high energy and versatile. They can hit anything that moves and steal the puck before you can blink. Shift disturbers, all of them.
Cal, or should I say Pascal William, will be at the team store on Tuesday, August 6th and I have intentions of interviewing him, but I did a little research this morning. The 25-year-old was born in Welland Ontario and played minor hockey in his home town. He played Junior hockey for the OHL on the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors and the Oshawa Generals. (And the fact that those names are so familiar to me is a testament to listening to Canadian radio at work for so long.)
Just as AMac, he was drafted in 2006, but at 72nd over all in the third round. He was sent to the AHL’s Houston Aeros before being called up to the Wild. Once he was, he quickly became a fan favorite. (Doesn’t that sound familiar? Calling Matt Martin….) He excels at the hitting game but also plays sound defense. Versatile and gritty -- who doesn’t love that in a hockey player?
In the 2008-2009 NHL season, Cal broke the NHL record for hits with 356 in a game against the Islanders. In a cosmic connection, that record was broken by Matt Martin in 2012. Now, while some of his hits may be on the border of ‘questionable,’ his PIMs don’t seem as high as they could be with the highest number being 103 in the ‘11-’12 season. His highest number of points came that same season at 34 along with four short handed goals.
You might think someone who hits as often as he does would have a longer injury record, but I could only find a leg contusion caused by a collision with Taylor Hall in March of 2009 that lost Cal six games and a stick to the eye that wasn’t tragic.
Clutterbuck is used to shutting down team’s top lines and the Wild line that he skated on with Pierre-marc Bouchard, Kyle Brodziak, Clayton Stoner and Tom Gilbert managed to completely shut down a Dallas top line that included future Hall-of-Famer Jaromir Jagr.
Now, this is for my buddy from Newsday Mark Herrmann. Clutterbuck is an avid golfer who has previously said he was a seven or eight handicap and two over par. Driving is his strong point with the distance he can get. There you go Mark. I just gave you a reason to come out on Tuesday and talk to him too.
Everyone else could come out and say hello.