Clutterbuck continues to show the importance of the bottom-six.
The New York Islanders have slowly been getting back into shape after their disastrous COVID-19 outbreak.
Of course, star center Mathew Barzal as well as LW Matt Martin and LHD Robin Salo are in protocol and star defenseman Ryan Pulock is still recovering from injury, but the Islanders have been winning games. That’s what matters.
The Islanders had another good week, going 2-1-0 in three games in Week 10.
Once again, Cal Clutterbuck stood out most.
Player of the Week: RW Cal Clutterbuck
vs. BOS: 2 G
Average Game Score: 1.10
Average defensive impact: 0.37
Clutterbuck carried the weight when most of the team was out during the COVID outbreak and it’s nice to see that he hasn’t slowed down since, even with New York’s top players coming back.
Clutterbuck played well against the Detroit Red Wings and was fine against the Vegas Golden Knights, but really stood out against the Boston Bruins. He was the team’s best player, scoring two goals and playing a fine defensive game.
🗣️ Identity Line Goal! pic.twitter.com/LFAxXviV0j
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 17, 2021
When it’s all said and done, regardless of the outcome of the season, Clutterbuck will have been one of the Islanders’ most valuable and important players this season.
He’s been getting it done when the team is struggling and is showing why the the Identity Line is so good at what it does.
Bottom-six forwards like Clutterbuck differentiate good teams from the bad. Having a guy like Clutterbuck who plays great defense and can occasionally score some goals is such an advantage, as we saw this week.
Honorable Mention #1: RHD Andy Greene
Average Game Score: 0.62
Average defensive impact: 0.63
What a week this was for the 39-year-old. Not only was this his best week of the season during which he was the team’s best defenseman and second-best player, but he also celebrated an incredible milestone.
Greene played his 1,000th career game on Sunday against the Vegas Golden Knights, an incredible achievement for an undrafted player.
Greene is having a solid season, arguably his best in years, and was bound to have such a solid week. He didn’t put up any points, but was very good in his own zone as he has been almost all season-long.
Through the ups and downs, the Islanders have stayed dominant in their own zone and Greene is a key reason why. Getting such production out of a veteran blueliner like Greene is great for a team trying to get back in the playoff hunt.
Honorable Mention #2: C Brock Nelson
@ DET: 1 A
@ VGK: 1 G
Average Game Score: 0.48
Average defensive impact: 0.46
Last but not least is Ol’ Reliable. Nelson, who was arguably the team’s best player before getting injured during the COVID outbreak, is getting back on track.
He did well offensively, scoring a goal and an assist this week, and was excellent defensively.
Knotted up at 1! pic.twitter.com/gZWPNXGFhD
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 19, 2021
As we always say, the Islanders just aren’t the same team when Nelson either isn’t playing or isn’t playing up to his standard. The hope is that this week re-ignited him and will get him, as well as the second line, going.