The New York Islanders announced on Monday that they have placed veteran winger Cal Clutterbuck on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.
With an extra roster spot opened, the team opted to call up young defenseman Samuel Bolduc, who could potentially make his NHL debut on Monday night with the Islanders in Toronto to face the Maple Leafs.
The 35-year-old Clutterbuck, whose bruising style of play continues to take its toll, had already missed 14 games this season due to injuries — this after an offseason in which he needed surgery to repair an injured shoulder.
Clutterbuck suffered this most recent knock during the second period of Thursday night’s 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres while being designated with an indefinite absence. It prompted the Islanders to recall top prospect Aatu Räty from their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport on Saturday for a second go at life in the NHL after playing seven games with the team from December into January.
For Bolduc, the opportunity to make his NHL debut comes at a time in which the Islanders continue to look for answers to stabilize their blueline. Since Adam Pelech went down with a head injury on Dec. 6, the team has struggled to find a legitimate No. 6 option with the likes of Robin Salo, Parker Wotherspoon, and Dennis Cholowski.
The 22-year-old Bolduc was drafted in the second round of the 2019 draft and was playing his third season in the AHL before getting the call-up to the big club. The 2022-23 campaign was proving to be his best one yet as he recorded eight goals and 18 assists (26 points) in 40 games.
It makes him a prime candidate to get such a shot with the Islanders desperate for some form of offensive production that isn’t coming consistently enough with a forward group that needs aggressive support from the defense.
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