The New York Islanders rewarded Cal Clutterbuck with a recent contract extension, something that certainly came at the right time for the veteran forward. The team announced today that Clutterbuck will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury that will require surgery. Additionally, Scott Mayfield will miss four to six weeks with a lower-body injury.
Clutterbuck, 34, last played on March 19, two days before the trade deadline when he inked a new two-year, $3.5MM extension that keeps him with the Islanders through the 2023-24 season. While his name had surfaced in trade speculation, it seems likely that it was never really in the cards given this injury and the timing of his extension.
Through 59 games this season, Clutterbuck has racked up six goals and 15 points, actually eclipsing the totals from each of the last two years. The last time he posted double-digit goals was 2015-16, and he hasn’t broken 25 points in a single season since he was still with the Minnesota Wild. Despite that lack of offensive output, Clutterbuck has been an important part of the smothering defensive system in New York, racking up almost countless hits in a bottom-six role. This season he sits fourth in the entire league with 229 collisions, trailing only Radko Gudas, Ryan Reaves, and Tanner Jeannot.
Set to turn 35 in November and now coming off shoulder surgery, it’s easy to wonder what kind of impact Clutterbuck can really have moving forward. His $1.75MM cap hit is half of what he’s earned for the last five years, but still seems like a relative overpay, given how uncertain his future contributions are.
Mayfield, who also was included in some pre-deadline speculation, was injured when he blocked a shot on Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators and will now miss a good chunk of what’s left in the regular season. The depth defenseman is already signed through next season and has taken another step forward this season, adding 18 points in 61 games to his already stalwart defensive play. While he’s not a top-pairing option, some believed Mayfield could have been a sought-after addition for contenders at the deadline had he been made available by the Islanders.
With the team sitting 17 points behind the Washington Capitals for the second wild card spot, with the Columbus Blue Jackets in between, it was always going to be an extreme longshot for the Islanders to make a playoff push. Losing two more pieces from their lineup will only make that climb more difficult and could potentially end up giving them some better lottery odds instead.