Draft picks be damned, the story coming out of the draft as far as our boys in blue are concerned was the semi-blockbuster of sending a former top 5 pick to Minnesota for a player labeled a career 3rd line grinder. After reading the draft thread from this sight among others, it is unquestionable that common sentiment amongst Islander fans that we got the short end of the stick. In fact, upon learning about this trade I was also completely confused. However, the more I read and hear about Clutterbuck, the more I start to think this may have been a solid move by Snow. Hear me out boys and girls (I see you TMC).
I know this seems bazaar right now, but should we not land a Horton or Briere in FA, I think it is entirely possible that Cal could get some first line minutes with JT. A tough, physical winger who (most importantly) will protect our star unlike Boyes is exactly what that line needs. Even better, in my opinion, Clutterbuck is more skilled than your average goon. He's only 25 years old, and when he was 23 he had career highs in goals and points at 19 and 34 respectively, in 76 games. Keep in mind that during the 2010-2011 season he only averaged 16 mins per game and was playing with 3rd liners. With first line minutes combined with "The JT Factor," we could be looking at a 25-30 goal scorer in CC should he stay healthy. He also will take greatly reduce the amount of shots after the whistle that JT will have to deal with. The one thing I hated seeing all season was, on various occasions, JT would take unnecessary shots and nobody would jump to defend him. The cornerstone of our franchise needs to be protected at all times.
On the other hand, we gave up a top 5 draft pick that, as we are all very aware, has a very high ceiling. Sure, he's got an outspoken agent and at times acts like the 20 year old that he is. How would you feel if you played the whole year with Pandolfo and Reasoner and then got sent down the the minors because that experiment failed miserably? There's no question we handled that situation poorly. And if Nino was going to have an attitude or a "Me First" mentality going into next year, I have no problem with shipping him off.
Like everyone else, I figured the return for NN would be greater. While we don't know if this offer was on the table, if I was Vancouver, I would have taken Nino before that 9th overall pick in a heartbeat. However, I think everyone is underestimating what Clutterbuck can be capable of. With him, Martin, Cizikas, and C-Mac on the same roster, the Islanders are not going to be a fun team to play against next year. This move fits perfectly with the identity of a team that Snow has been trying to build, that is, a grind you down team that is tough on the forecheck but also has enough skill to be a top 5 offense.
If I haven't convinced you yet, the last bit I will ask you to consider is how many times you've been shocked at what Snow has done through Free Agency and on Waivers. How many of us counted on Hickey's play solidifying him a spot in our lineup? Or Colin MacDonald? Michael Grabner? Point is, before we crucify Snow on this one, let's let hindsight do the talking. Also, anyone even thinking of uttering a single sentiment about this being Milbury-esque needs to take that ish right up on out of here.
Party on, Garth!