Cal Clutterbuck has been a fixture on the Minnesota Wild roster for four years now, and has developed a reputation around the league for never turning down an opportunity to crash into an opposing player. This has made him a fan favorite, but what the club really needs is more goal scorers.
Clutterbuck increased his goal and point total in each of his first three seasons, but took a step backward in 2011-12, posting just (15+12=27) in 74 games. He scored just eight even-strength goals last year, after netting fifteen in 10-11, and if not for four shorthanded tallies in the first two months of the year, his totals could have been even lower.
Clutterbuck has been getting over two minutes of power play time per game the last two years, but has just 7 PPG combined since the start of the 2010-11 season. His duties on the man advantage are usually to screen the goalie, so I am surprised he doesn’t get more deflection goals or easy rebounds. Yet he has an average of just 25 power play shots over the last two years.
With the addition of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, Clutterbuck will likely be moved to the Wild’s second PP unit, but that may give him an opportunity to take more shots and hopefully get more goals on the man advantage. Instead of deferring to guys like Dany Heatley and Mikko Koivu, Cutterbuck could be skating with playmakers like Mikael Granlund and Matt Cullen, who would surely provide him with some fine opportunities to put the biscuit in the basket.
If Clutterbuck continues to be a third-line grinder who can pitch in 15 or so goals, he can still help the team, but if he can increase that output that would really go a long way toward helping the Wild win a championship.