The Edmonton Oilers are going to be a team to keep an eye on this summer, as they appear ready to wheel and deal in order to try and get back into the postseason. The goal is obviously to build around the current core that they have in place, with a focal point on defense and high energy types.
As far as the latter is concerned, that can mean a few different things. The Oilers aren’t going to go out and try and acquire someone like Ben Eager who lacks skill and is in the lineup simply to drop the gloves. But a physical guy willing to drop the mitts, who has some skill to go along with it, is entirely possible.
One player who would fit the bill there, and is available this summer, is that of Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck. A restricted free agent, Clutterbuck will likely be a touch too high for the Wild to afford this summer, meaning he’ll either leave in free agency or they’ll try to trade his rights.
Assuming he ends up finding his way out of Minnesota, as it currently looks, Clutterbuck would be a great fit for the Oilers. He’s the type of physical, high energy guy that they need to add to the mix. He’s obviously a tremendously physical player, with 155 hits in only 42 games last year, but he can chip in a few goals as well.
Clutterbuck saw a decline in production in 2013, with only 10 points on the year, including four goals. While no one is mistaking him for someone who is going to put up 50 or 60 points, he can add 15-20 goals to the mix, making him an asset on any teams’ third line, especially that of the Oilers.
It’d be interesting to see how Clutterbuck would be accepted in the Oilers locker room, given the history between him and Taylor Hall, though the responsibility for the bad blood there rests mostly on Hall, who went knee-on-knee on Clutterbuck last season. That’s something that could probably be taken care of pretty quickly.
If the Oilers are looking for these types of guys, then Clutterbuck should be at the top of the list, as long as the price is right.