With Clutterbuck Ahead of Schedule, Isles Have Roster Decision to Make

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

Forward Cal Clutterbuck is practicing with the Islanders today in a regular jersey, not one of the non-contact variety. Arthur Staple notes that the team will make a decision later today as to whether Clutterbuck can suit up tomorrow night at the Coliseum against Phoenix. This is all good news even if he doesn’t play tomorrow night, as Clutterbuck is a few weeks ahead of schedule. He’s a week or two ahead of the four-to-six week diagnosis.

Whenever Clutterbuck does return, the Islanders will be faced with a decision to open up a roster spot for him. The team currently has 23 players on the 23-man roster and Clutterbuck is #24 on injured reserve, meaning someone’s gotta go to take Clutterbuck off of IR.

Here are the most likely scenarios:

- Demote Brock Nelson to Bridgeport
- Return Griffin Reinhart to Juniors
- Send someone else through waivers
- Somebody gets hurt and takes his place on IR
EDIT: Matt Donovan is also exempt from waivers, so he could be sent down

None of these are ideal scenarios, except for maybe Reinhart who was likely going to be returned to juniors anyway.

Nelson hasn’t scored but seems to be holding his own in the NHL and it wouldn’t seem right to keep another top prospect in the AHL, especially one who led the Sound Tigers in scoring last season. It would be nice to see Reinhart in the lineup at some point, but after sitting the first two games the Islanders may be intent on giving him the Strome treatment and having his NHL stint be ‘press box only’ before sending him back to juinors. The rest of the team, save Casey Cizikas and Kevin Poulin, require waivers to get sent to Bridgeport. Obvioulsy Poulin and Cizikas are non-starters, one being a regular and the other being a goalie. It’s also hard to see any of the veterans clearing waivers or taking kindly to the move.

This is all a moot or delayed point if Clutterbuck isn’t cleared for Tuesday night or someone else gets injured. Simply switch the newly injured player to IR for Clutterbuck and you’re good to go. But no one wants to root for injury.