The New York Islanders made a major signing Friday, inking winger Cal Clutterbuck to a five-year extension. The deal carries a $3.5 million AAV, according to multiple sources.
Clutterbuck was a part of a strong fourth line in Brooklyn last season. All three members of that line have now seen big paydays as a result. Casey Cizikas got a five-year, $3.35 million extension from the Islanders after putting up a career-high 29 points (8-21-29). Matt Martin followed the money to Toronto, earning $2.5 million a year over the next four seasons.
This season Clutterbuck has spent time skating as a part of the Islanders top line with John Tavares. Through 25 games, he’s posted two goals and seven assists. The 29-year-old’s top seasons of offensive production came years ago while playing with the Minnesota Wild.
There’s been some speculation that giving Clutterbuck this deal at this time is in part a play to keep Tavares in town. Clutterbuck, an alternate captain, and Tavares, the captain, are close.
Tavares will be eligible to sign a contract extension starting July 1, 2017.
One interesting aside to the Clutterbuck situation is that every forward on the team is already on the books for next season. Even with a recent hot streak, the Islanders are in the league’s basement and the current contract situation limits their ability to make adjustments during the offseason. It could also make it more difficult logistically and financially to give opportunities to young players like Mathew Barzal and Josh Ho Sang.
Ovechkin & the Olympics
Alexander Ovechkin has repeatedly made it clear that he plans on participating in the 2018 Olympics whether or not the NHL is officially participating. Friday, Caps owner Ted Leonsis said that he’d support Ovechkin going to the Olympics if the NHL isn’t participating.
“He’s given so much to our organization and I would respect what he wanted to do and be very supportive of him,” Leonsis said.
McDavid Calls Manning “Classless”
Thursday night, Connor McDavid was seen chirping the Flyers bench and wearing a little more emotion than the typically stoic forward shows. After the game, he revealed that Philadelphia’s Brandon Manning said last season’s broken collarbone wasn’t an accident. McDavid says Manning admitted he was trying to injure McDavid.
“You know what, I did all I could defending him last year in the media,” McDavid said. “Everyone wanted to make it a big deal, say he did it on purpose. He wanted to say some comments today about what went on last year. I thought it was one of the (most) classless things I’ve ever seen on the ice. He said some things, and our guys responded accordingly.
“But I guess we can put the whole ‘if he did it on purpose’ thing to rest, because what he said out there confirmed that. It shows what kind of guy he is when he doesn’t step up and fight some of our guys.”
Via Flyers PR, Manning responded: “I think anybody who knows me or who has played with or against me along the road here, knows that I am not that kind of player. I am not out there intentionally trying to hurt people. I’m a guy who plays the game hard and I take pride in that. I think going back to last year, it was a total accident, I mean, there were three players involved and there was never any intention on hurting anyone.”
Full comment from Wayne Gretzky on Connor McDavid's postgame reaction about Manning: pic.twitter.com/L5OB9IqTDO
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) December 9, 2016
Doan Sets a Record
With an assist on a Max Domi goal Thursday, Shane Doan has become the all-time assist leader in Coyotes/Jets franchise history. It’s Doan 554th apple, surpassing the 553 posted by Thomas Steen with the organization.
Flyers Won’t Stop
Philadelphia gave Edmonton all they could handle last night. Despite holding two separate two-goal leads, the Oilers managed to lose the game. According to Elias, it’s the first time in franchise history that the Flyers have erased two two-goal deficits in a single game.
The first two-goal lead was erased when the Flyers scored three goals in 72 seconds. That’s the fastest trio of goals for the Flyers since Feb. 14, 2009, when they scored three in 67 seconds against the Islanders, according to Elias.
For the Flyers, it’s their seventh straight win and it’s the first time they’ve had such a streak since a run in December of 2011.
Goal of the Year
Speaking of impressive feats, here’s a Tavares goal that you’ll see again at the end of the year when we’re talking about the best goal of the year.
Odds & Ends
– Anaheim’s Ryan Garbutt has cleared waivers.
– Minnesota Wild defenseman Christian Folin has been cleared to play, reports Michael Russo of the Star Tribune. It’s not clear if he’ll play Friday.
– The Blue Jackets have recalled Oliver Bjorkstrand to the NHL on an emergency basis. Aaron Portzline reports that a lineup regular “is questionable” for Friday’s game.
– The Dallas Stars have placed rookie Julius Honka on injured reserve retroactive to December 6.