What Niederreiter’s Departure and Clutterbuck’s Arrival Means for the Islanders

The 2013 NHL Draft is officially over. We’ve let the picks, the trades, and the rumors settle overnight and we can take a moment to reflect on what was the most hectic day of the young offseason.

Cal Clutterbuck New York Islanders
Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports

Just 43 minutes into the Draft, Newsday’s Arthur Staple tweeted that the Islanders acquired Cal Clutterbuck for Nino Niederreiter (and a third round, 70th overall pick).

Everyone across the hockey world seemingly put on their general manager hats the moment the buzz of an Islanders trade began. Simply put, Islanders fans were not happy with this move, and with good reason. Niederreiter, a 5th overall pick in the 2010 Draft, went for a third line forward and a third round Draft pick.

Niederreiter had become a growing problem within the Isles organization when he brought up wanting out of the Isles system earlier this year. Niederreiter dressed for the Isles in 64 games, netting just two goals and one assist. Although he had much greater success in Bridgeport, he became more of a nuisance, and less of the promising young star we all hoped for.

While we’re not exactly sure what the Isles are losing in Niederreiter, on paper, they’re losing the 5th overall pick from the 2010 draft. They’re losing who was hopefully a rising star and a top 6 forward. But they’re also losing a player who did not want to be where he was and he made it clear. He had a great season in Bridgeport, as well in International play. With guys like Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, and Anders Lee, Niederreiter was looking like he would be leapfrogged soon, which would only cause for more drama from the 20 year old Swiss native.

Cal Clutterbuck brings some much needed toughness to the Isles. Clutterbuck led the League in hits for three consecutive seasons prior to Matt Martin taking over the crown the past two years. As much of an enforcing forward Clutterbuck is, he also posses the tools to score goals. Although a down year this past season, scoring just four goals, Clutterbuck has averaged over 10 goals a season since entering the League, as well as contributing one goal and one assist in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Between Martin and Clutterbuck, the Isles will have two guys that are not only willing to hit, but are smart hockey players. Clutterbuck will bring an edge to the team that was a bit lacking this past season.

What at first was confusion, frustration, and an overall strange move (at the time) is now looking like it makes more and more sense. Of course, we won’t see the true impact of this move for at least a few months, but remember there is a lot of off season remaining. Like Rome, a hockey team wasn’t, and isn’t built in a day.