The New York Islanders announced on Thursday that left-winger Cal Clutterbuck will miss the remainder of the 2021-22 season with a shoulder injury that will require surgery while defenseman Scott Mayfield is dealing with a lower-body injury that will force him to miss 4-to-6 weeks.
“They’re very important. This is the NHL, there are guys who are going to go down,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “It has to be the next-man-up mentality so there will be opportunities for other guys. They’re both big pieces in our room, both big pieces on our PK… they’re as good as we have.”
Clutterbuck had missed each of his team’s last two games due to the injury, though his absence Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers fueled speculation just 24 hours before the NHL trade deadline that the veteran fourth-liner would be dealt.
The Islanders labeled it as maintenance, however, before signing him to a two-year extension on Monday. He missed Tuesday night’s 3-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators as well, where Ross Johnston slotted into his spot next to Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin.
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Mayfield’s injury comes as more of a surprise considering he played in Tuesday’s victory that included his third goal of the season midway through the third period that proved to be the game-winner. He did take a shot to the foot shortly after but remained in the game until its completion.
“I don’t even think he knew until after the game… I think he felt good but the x-rays showed something different,” forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau said. “Tough on the mind of the player, tough on the teammates. you don’t want to see anyone go down. We hope he’ll have a quick recovery… he’s a big part of this group.”
The 29-year-old appeared in each of his team’s first 61 games this season, posting 18 points with a minus-5 rating.
In his absence, head coach Barry Trotz will have an opportunity to give regular playing time to two of his younger blueliners in Sebastian Aho and Robin Salo — the latter considered one of the organization’s top prospects that will push for regular playing time in the NHL next season.