There are few players in hockey that can rile up a fan base faster than Cal Clutterbuck. Opposing fans hate him, Wild fans love him. GMs and coaches wish he played on their team. Throw all the jokes you want about padded hit stats at the X, but the guy gets nearly as many on the road as he does at home, so it doesn't quite fit the narrative anymore.
When Clutterbuck is on the ice, opposing players know it, and their game changes. While fans of those teams may not like it, the league has yet to find reason to suspend him, and you know if he did something wrong, they would in a heart beat. He'll hit your guy hard, he'll hit them clean, and he will put them on their backside faster than you can say his name.
Love him or hate him, he does his job. How well did he do it this season? Make the jump to find out.
|2011 - Cal Clutterbuck||74||15||12||27||-4||103||3||4||2||161|
Nathan - 27 points was ok, but was probably only about 2/3 of the expectation level set for him. He was out of control too much and when the team fell apart, he lost it. I was sorely disappointed in Clutterbuck this season.
Bryan - This is going to get me in trouble a bit, and may get me called a homer, but I have zero issues with the game Clutterbuck played this year. Opposing fans and players flat out don't like the guy. He is in their heads, and yet plays a clean game. He showed some strong frustration as the season wore on, but I liked that. One of the guys on and off the ice that may care too much. The refs are watching him closely, and calling things they never used to, so he may need to adapt his game, but he is still a great option of the third line.
Jesse - It hurts to rate Clutterbuck so low, but something was definitely off this year. It looked like the slide down the standings and then the trade of Nick Schultz really got to Cal. The result was Cal taking the dumb penalties and being take off his game instead of agitating the opposition. Despite what some may believe, Clutterbuck probably won't be a Top-6 forward. He's best suited for 3rd-line minutes, getting under people's skin, and taking the other team off their game. When he's taking bad penalties, slamming his stick on the boards, chirping at refs, and acting like a child, he hurts the Wild, not the opposition. He may still be young, but when the Fletcher Kids start filtering in, Cal will be an elder statesman and will have to act like a consummate professional to set the tone, both on the ice and in the locker room. The behavior he exhibited this year had better just be an anomaly.
JS - If there's a player that best exemplifies the Wild's Top-to-Bottom season, it's Cal Clutterbuck, with maybe Josh Harding as a close second. He started on a career-season pace, scoring 10 goals and 6 assists by the end of December, but he scored only 5 times in the last 38 games. Not only that, but his temper made him a liability to the team in some games. As a result, the fan favorite fell out of the graces of many a Wild fan. It's not like he's the only player that struggled, it's far from the case, but it seems like he's the one whose struggles were most visible. He did co-lead the league in shorthanded goals, but his last shorthanded goal was scored on December 4th and it was mostly off great plays by Mikko Koivu, with whom he formed a deadly combo on the PK. He suffered a few injuries, but it's mostly because he's become a target for questionable hits from other players. There's no doubt his effort level is among the highest on the team, but there's a point where you can become overzealous, and Clutterbuck reached that point on a few occasions. His value to the team is unquestionable, but I think he should be able to reach the 20 goal mark, tone down the penalties and reclaim his throne as the hit king.