Thursday, August 14, 2008

Prospect Watch 2008: Cal "Land Mine" Clutterbuck

NHL.com sez:

Cal Clutterbuck -- Minnesota's third-round pick in 2006 is coming off his first season of professional hockey, which was spent with Houston. In 73 games with the Aeros, Clutterbuck, a 5-10, 196-pounder, scored 11 goals and added 13 assists to go along with 97 penalty minutes. The Welland, Ontario, native had back-to-back 35-goal seasons in his final two junior campaigns with Oshawa.

"We think he can be a solid, two-way, physical player," Thompson said. "He would have had more points if (Houston) had used him in offensive situations. He had 70 goals his last two years of junior. He can score if you put him those situations. He can shoot. I think he's got a good chance with us."
Ms. Conduct sez:

It's no secret, Clutterbuck is one of my favorite players in the Wild system, if not all of pro hockey. If I were writing a book about him, it would be called How I Learned to Relax and Love the Agitator.

Cal is smart, wiley, calculating, and nasty. He's a shit-stirrer (watch him during warm-ups skating juuuuust inside the center line). I'm told he runs his mouth constantly, though I think he's got some kind of ventriloquism thing going, because I've never seen his lips move other than in a direct confrontation.

Even though Cal is a classic agitator, he doesn't push the boundaries a la Avery. He doesn't do silly shit to embarrass his team and he's a great guy in the room (from all indications). But he's pure nasty on the ice and I love him for it. He crushes guys with gleeful abandon AND he's strong enough to do it without getting himself hurt. I'm sure he had some injuries last year, but you'd never know it.

So, even if he doesn't get a ton of points, his value goes way beyond that, and I think the NHL.com blurb doesn't capture that at all. However, it is cool to see that TT thinks, given the opportunity, he's got some offensive firepower in him. I tend to agree and think he hasn't hit his stride in that regard yet, as he's had some really nice goals in Houston, so I know he's got a bit of sniper in him. But that's all gravy to me... it's the dozen other terrific attributes he brings that makes him the valuable player he is.

Things that are awesome about Cal:

  • His poker face. I've never ever seen him smile or appear frustrated or angry during a game. And when you've got a guy who's so infuriating to the opponent, the fact that he has absolutely no reaction to THEIR reaction just makes it so much sweeter.
  • Along the same lines, I love how he'll just CRUSH a guy into the boards and we're all going, "WTF? Did a bomb just drop in here?" (or if you're a seasoned Aeros fan, you just start looking for Cal's number because you can be pretty sure he was the culprit) and the other team's enforcer is on his ass and Cal's wearing this look like, "What's everyone looking at?" It's like someone causing a 10 car pileup during rush hour and just getting out of their car and walking away like, "You dudes deal with this shit. I gotta go." Awesome.
  • That he claims to have no talent. That everything he's got is just from hard work. Now, while I do believe that he's probably one of the hardest working guys on the team, I don't believe for a second that he's not blessed with something special. But his humility is charming, so who am I to argue?
  • He manages to avoid crossing the line between being a distraction to his own team and being a distraction to the other team. Occasionally, Scotty has had to come in and cast a dark shadow over some altercation that Cal stirred up, but I think those little dramas do more to fire up the team than to throw them off. But it sure gets the other team hating us and hate is distracting.
So, I hope TT is right and my little Land Mine gets a serious cuppa in Minny this season. The only thing is that Minnesota's never had a true agitator like this. Some folks there think Voros was an agitator. No. He was a pest but mostly harmless (unless you're Novotny). And it seems most of these old skool hockey types don't like agitators. So, it remains to be seen if they can find a spot in their heart for one who's on their side for a change. To those people, I think Cal would say:

7 comments:

"Dave Schultz"  August 14, 2008 at 1:16 PM  

also, Cal Clutterbuck is the best ever name in hockey.

Ms. Conduct  August 14, 2008 at 1:27 PM  

See? He's so awesome, I forgot to even rave about his equally awesome name.

hipcheck  August 14, 2008 at 2:07 PM  

From what you wrote, he reminds me a little of Carcillo. Although it sounds as if Clutterbuck may be a little more restrained then Danny, but he's working on that.

Ms. Conduct  August 14, 2008 at 4:03 PM  

Carcillo is much more of a fighter. Cal only had 3 fights all season in Houston. He'll be more like Avery/Burrows/Ruutu in that regard. This is where most people start cringing. ;)

hipcheck  August 14, 2008 at 8:36 PM  

Look for Carcillo to have less fights (I know sad right?) and agitate more. From everything I read, that's what they want him to do. Cause trouble and let the big guys kick ass.

Life_As_A_Redhead  August 15, 2008 at 9:51 PM  

Just got around to reading this.

I'm in love already.

Ms. Conduct  August 16, 2008 at 7:58 AM  

Yep, he's pretty much a badass. You'll like him.

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