The Minnesota Wild have traded fan favorite Cal Clutterbuck and the 70th overall pick in this year’s NHL entry Draft to the New York Islanders Jersey Devils for Nino Niederreiter Last season Cllutterbuck scored 4 goals added 6 assists while picking up 27 penalty minutes. In his career with the Wild, Clutterbuck has accumulated 62 goals and 48 assists over 346 NHL games. He was slated to become an restricted free agent July 5th. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher got the deal for Niederreiter done rather than have to match offer sheets or lose Cal for nothing if a deal couldn’t be done. Clutterbuck led the team and the NHL in hits in 3 of his 5 full seasons with the Wild. He racked up 155 hits in 42 games this year and he holds the NHL single season record with 356 hits during the 2008-09 season. “Clutter”, as teammates call him, is also one of the premier chirpers or trash talkers in the league, with the ability to get under any opponents skin. I, for one, am thankful he was traded to a team in another division/conference so the Wild will only have to face him twice during the regular season. Cal is also the owner/groomer of one of the best mustaches in the NHL and a huge supporter of Movember. Movember is an annual mustache growing movement in the United States and around the World. The movement each November is to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. Cal is going to be missed by many in the State of Hockey, as he was a favorite of many Wild fans. The trade also moves him closer to his home in Welland, Ontario Canada. Reportedly there were many teams interested in Clutterbuck but Minnesota GM Fletcher refused to trade him to any team in the Wild’s division. Minnesota’s salary cap situation turned Clutterbuck into a trade him rather than pay him situation. I’m sorry to see Cal go, but the Wild have plenty of 3rd and 4th line grinders and adding a potential top 6 forward with definite scoring ability is well worth the price the Wild paid.
Nino Niederreiter was the 5th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Islanders. The 6′ 2″, 210 lb left handed shooter was a player the Wild wanted in that draft but the Islanders took him so the Wild “settled” for Mikael Granlund with the 9th overall pick. Niederreiter has 64 games of NHL experience over two season with New York, 55 of those during the 2011-12 campaign. He spent the lock out shortened 2012-13 season playing for the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In 74 games he piled up 50 points (22 goals, 28 assists), a plus/minus of -5 and just 38 minutes in penalties. Nino was a highly touted prospect heading into the 2010 draft but seemed to struggle in the NHL during the 2011-12 season. He would have benefited greatly from a full season in the AHL. He saw action in 55 NHL games scoring just a single goal to go with zero assists and a -29 rating during the 2011-12 season. The Chur, Switzerland native is the highest drafted Swiss player ever in the NHL. Just 19 years of age at the time, Niederreiter was rushed to the NHL by the Islanders, who were desperate to find any way possible to climb out of the Eastern Conference cellar. It didn’t work. What New York got was an inexperienced European winger playing on a bad team. The season he just finished in Bridgeport should pay dividends for the Wild. He may make the NHL squad out of training camp this year or at worst, be at the top of the call up list from the Iowa Wild. Nino is a gifted scorer and passer who totaled 130 pts (77 goals, 53 assists) in 120 games over two seasons with the Portland Winter Hawks of the WHL. During those seasons he compiled a +39 rating and scored 23 power play markers. He should help bring some life to the Wild’s power play which struggled last season, scoring on less than 18% of their man up opportunities. Stay tuned to GonePuckWild.com as we keep you informed as the NHL draft continues.
As always this is Scott Drain saying, “Let’s Go Wild!!”