Who is Cal Clutterbuck? That's the question few people are asking right now, instead preferring to focus upon the amount of assets - Nino - the Isles gave up to get him. But really that ship has sailed. What we should focus on is who the heck we got back in return.
So Who is Cal Clutterbuck? Well, he's a guy known for lots of hits and being a pest. But how is his game? Can he actually play hockey? Or is he just a guy who hits and hopes to not be a liability?
To solve this, let's look at his #s:
|Player||Games Played||Corsi/60 ||Relative Corsi/60||Zone-Start %||Quality of Competition (Relative Corsi)||EV Time On Ice||% of Zone Entries while on Ice (11-12)||% of Entries with Possession (11-12) ||Minor Penalties Taken/60||Minor Penalties Drawn/60|
|Player||Goals||Assists||SOG/Game ||Shooting %||Career Shooting %|
Tables 1 and 2: Relevant Stats and Fancy Stats of Cal Clutterbuck.
Corsi/60: Shots +/- using ALL Shots - so the statistic is (Blocked+Missed+On Goal Shots) For - (Blocked+Missed+On Goal Shots) Against per 60 while a player is on the ice.
Relative Corsi/60: A Player's Corsi/60 MINUS the Team's Corsi/60 while he's not on the ice.
Zone-Start %: The percentage of faceoffs you're on the ice that are in the offensive zone (not including neutral zone faceoffs)
Quality of Competition (Relative Corsi): A measure of the skill of the average opposing player on the ice. (Basically it's the average Relative Corsi of the opposing players on the ice while this player was on the ice.)
Clutterbuck took a role roughly equivalent to our 4th line in Minnesota - a strong defensive role. He spent 3 years facing roughly 3 defensive zone starts for every 2 offensive zone starts and played decent competition and of course penalty kill. In fact for what it's worth, he faced SLIGHTLY tougher ice time than that of the Isles fourth line, and has been doing so for the last three years.
This suggests that he's likely to fit in on our 4th line, since the role of that line is very similar to his previous role.
Clutterbuck's Possession #s:
What do you expect from a player playing defensive minutes who's a 4th liner? Hopefully they at least tread water such that the team is even or just a little bit worse with that player ON the ice as compared to when he's off it. And Clutterbuck fits the bill: the team is just fractionally worse possession wise with him on the ice, than without, despite him playing tougher minutes than the other players on the team.
Now, this might be less impressive considering that the Wild have spent 3 years as a pretty bad team - though they improved to slightly worse than average this year. That said, Clutterbuck's #s relative to the team remained stable even as they improved this year, and his teammates - particularly his defensemen - have been atrocious - even compared to the Isles.
Clutterbuck's Neutral Zone #s:
Bob Spencer of Hashtag Hockey (@Hashtag_Hockey) tracked neutral zone entries for 11-12 for the Wild, and while I don't have the exact #s, we do know the general individual neutral zone #s of Clutterbuck since they were put on a chart used in one of Eric T's posts (and we have the #s through 60 games instead of 82, which match for the most part).
*For more on Zone Entries and what they mean, go HERE:
Clutterbuck took a decent role in getting the puck through the neutral zone, managing to make over 28% of entries while he was on the ice. For comparison's sake, that's a bigger role than both Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas, and closer to that of Michael Grabner. So he was carrying the puck through the neutral zone a lot.
Meanwhile, he still managed close to or just under 50% (the chart makes it look like 48%) of his entries coming by carry-in or pass-in: a solid if unspectacular rate. That said, it compares with the rate of Cizikas and is far better than Matt Martin. Hence, putting him on the fourth line with those two likely will result in more effective entering the opponent's zone.
Clutterbuck's other Individual #s:
Clutterbuck has three other relevant parts to his game:
First he's a pest - and as a pest, he takes a bunch of penalties. The thing is, that in each of the last three years, the amount of penalties he's taken has basically been evened out by the penalties he's drew. So this is really a wash. He'll increase the amount of special teams play in Isles games, but not in a negative direction.
Second, he has some decent offensive #s. Some of this is due to PP play, which he had some of before this past year, when he no longer got PP time. However, even at EV he gets a good amount of shots on net and takes a bunch of shots. He's not the greatest shooter, averaging just under 9% for his career, but he's not bad and he generates a good amount of volume.
Note that his SH% was way down last year, indicating his low goal total was flukish - he should've had 8 goals, not 4.
The third part of his game is the penalty kill. Penalty kill stats are inherently fluky due to sample size, but he's generally been a good PKer compared to his teammates, so he should be an asset here.
So who is Cal Clutterbuck? Essentially, he's a better version of Matt Martin:
Better at Possession
Better at PKing
Better at generating offense
Better at Neutral Zone Play
You get my point. Is that something to be that excited about? Probably not - though I expect a lot of you will enjoy his hard hitting style. That said, he adds GRITZ to the lineup without being a liability, which is not something we should underrate at all.