The New York Islanders have reached agreement on a four-year contract extension for restricted free agent forward Cal Clutterbuck. Isles beatwriters for Newsday and the Post are reporting that it is worth $11 million, an average of $2.75 million per year.
By securing the 25-year-old Clutterbuck for four years, the Islanders lock him up through his final RFA year and multiple seasons where he would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency. Clutterbuck will turn 26 in November. He will be 29 when the contract expires.
The Islanders acquired Clutterbuck in a 2013 Draft Day trade for Nino Niederreiter. The cap-stressed Minnesota Wild had decided he didn't fit their plans (though they appear to have replaced him with Matt Cooke on a three-year deal worth $2.5 million per).
With the Wild, Clutterbuck was coming off a three-year second contract that had a cap hit of $1.4 million while increasing his pay from $1 million to $1.7 million by the final year of the deal, so this represents a $1 million raise, albeit with the consideration that most of this contract would have been UFA years.
With RFAs who have their UFA years in sight, it's always a balance between commitment and salary. So this deal represents compromise along those lines. In full seasons, Clutterbuck has ranged from 11 to 19 goals with a shooting percentage around nine percent, but he's also coming off a slump year with the Wild.
Even with the chance to put last season behind him, he probably wouldn't increase his (now purely theoretical) free agent bargaining power too much in one year with the Islanders, but there is always a market for physical players who can score and play the penalty kill. So he might have commanded more on the open market next summer if he rebounded with a career-average season with the Isles in 2013-14.