Ever since getting his leg cut in a preseason game almost a month ago, Cal Clutterbuck has been waiting to get his chance. He has been waiting and healing, trying to get healthy to join the rest of his New York Islanders teammates. There is no exact date as to when Clutterbuck will step back onto the ice in the NHL, but he is very very close. With that in mind, it means that the Islanders are going to have to make a move to take somebody out of the current 23 man roster to make room for him in the lineup.
According to one source, it looks like rookie Griffin Reinhart is going to be the odd man out to make room for Clutterbuck upon his return. Now Reinhart hasn’t played a game yet, which makes things easier on the Islanders. Why? Because the clock has yet to start on the nine-game window the Isles have before they burn a year of Reinhart’s contract. So that is still a viable option when the time comes. Reinhart may be destined to return to Edmonton of the Western Hockey League.
The other option for the Islanders would possibly be to move Brock Nelson down to Bridgeport in the AHL to make room, if the Islanders decide to keep eight defensemen and 14 forwards when Clutterbuck returns. There’s a good chance, though, based on his play in his first two games, that Nelson won’t be going anywhere.
Once Clutterbuck does return to the Islanders lineup, he will, in all likelihood, be paired up on a line with Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas, as he practiced with those two guys yesterday. I could really see that line working well together, considering the fact that Martin and Clutterbuck have been the hit kings of the NHL the past few seasons. But at the same time I would want Clutterbuck playing on a different line, as pairing him with Matt Martin would be kind of putting all their eggs in one basket. I wouldn’t mind seeing Clutterbuck play on a line with former teammate Pierre-Marc Bouchard either. By doing that it will spread out the physical play among the lines.
Either way, the Islanders have to work something out upon Clutterbuck’s return. This is a great problem for the Islanders to have, as it shows that they are a deeper hockey club than, say, in years past.
What do you think?