If you mention the name Cal Clutterbuck to any hockey fan and you are going to find someone who loves him, or someone who hates him. Wild fans love his energy, his massive hits, and his personality. Opposing fans seem to think he is the devil (or Raffi Torres) reincarnated. But will Cal retain his spot on the Wild’s roster next season?
All signs are pointing to no. Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has been reporting that Clutterbuck is being shopped around as trade bait. Which honestly makes sense if you really think about it.
Clutterbuck saw a decline in goal production last season (only 4 goals), which is a big problem. While a lot of his specialty has been in playing the role of an agitator and throwing massive hits, other guys on the team are stepping up into those roles now. Devin Setoguchi adjusted his game last season, and became the teams leader in hits thrown.
The Wild needed Clutterbuck to get points this season, and he didn’t. During the 2010-2011 season, Clutterbuck was nearly a .5ppg player (.45ppg). The 2011-2012 season saw a decrease in production for Cal, as he dropped down to .37ppg. This season, he dropped down to a .24 rating.
The Wild seem to want to head in the same direction as the recent Stanley Cup Champions the Chicago Blackhawks went; 4 solid lines that are all scoring threats. While they also have an annoying agitator in Andrew Shaw, Shaw also scored more than twice the number of goals as Cal in the regular season, as well as 5 goals in the post season.
Think about it Wild fans. If the team has 4 solid lines that all bring scoring threats, the bottom pairings from opposing teams will have their hands full. Any defensive weaknesses will be exposed, and exploited.
In the new conference set up, divisional foes Colorado, Winnipeg, and Dallas were all in the top 6 of goals allowed per game. Nashville wasn’t too far behind, coming in at number 10. That’s 4 of the 6 teams in Conference III that would be in serious trouble against a 4 line scoring threat.
If trading Cal opens up some salary to sign a consistent goal scorer, or a return of one (or even a solid blue-liner), Wild fans need to look past the price given up. The Wild are in position to be a solid playoff threat for years to come. They need to ensure that they have all the pieces to do that.