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Source: Avalanche GM Sakic Scouts Islanders, Clutterbuck a Target

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Cal Clutterbuck, New York Islanders

The UBS Arena crowd and the usual media personnel were not the only ones who watched the New York Islanders fall to the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout on Sunday afternoon. NHL trade rumors swirled when Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic was in attendance, and he wasn’t just on hand to see the new state-of-the-art arena in Elmont.

A league source indicated to NYI Hockey Now that eyes were on an Islanders forward. The belief is that Sakic’s interest lies in a part of the best fourth line in hockey: Cal Clutterbuck,

The 34-year old Clutterbuck will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Like the rest of the team, the New York Islanders fourth line has struggled this season. It appears the dominant trio with Casey Czikas and Matt Martin is coming to an end.

Clutterbuck is a grinder. Players with Clutterbuck’s blend of physicality, a bit of offense, and lots of leadership are valuable commodities to playoff teams. Colorado is more than just a playoff team. They are a Stanley Cup favorite that took a physical beating by the Vegas Golden Knights in Round Two of the NHL playoffs last year. Vegas easily won four straight games after the Avalanche staked a 2-0 series lead.

The 15-year NHL veteran Cal Clutterbuck leads the New York Islanders with 185 hits, 17.65 hits per 60 minutes. He also has the third-fewest giveaways on the Islanders (amongst players that have played in 30 games). He has just 12 giveaways in 44 games.

The bruising Clutterbuck’s trustworthiness in all three zones allowed head coach Barry Trotz to give him minutes beside top-line centerman Mathew Barzal for a few games this season. Barzal leads the Islanders with 53 turnovers.

Over the last nine seasons, Clutterbuck has well represented the New York Islanders. He played an instrumental role in the Islanders ability to go on back-to-back deep postseason runs, culminating in last season’s trip to the Stanley Cup Semi-Final and seven-game loss to the eventual Cup winner Tampa Bay Lightning. Interest is growing in Clutterbuck, who could become one of the hottest names on the NHL trade market.

Scouting is merely that, but a player like Clutterbuck could be a key acquisition in getting the Avalanche to Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001. Though Clutterbuck will not fill the net, the growing interest in Clutterbuck by multiple teams could create a seller’s market for the fan-favorite.

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