Rather than trading away two potential trade pieces before the NHL’s deadline on Monday, the New York Islanders opted to extend them — upping the contracts of forwards Cal Clutterbuck and Zach Parise.
Clutterbuck’s deal extends his stay on Long Island for two more years while Parise gets another one-year deal.
“What we did with the re-signing of Cal and Zach, they would be two players we’d have to replace in the role that they have,” Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello said on Monday. “We were not ready to sacrifice any assets unless any player we could acquire, we could sign them.”
Clutterbuck is in his ninth season with the Islanders after being acquired from the Minnesota Wild where he developed into a centerpiece of what was once called “the best fourth line in hockey” alongside Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas.
“I’m thrilled to sign an extension and have that dealt with. Especially this time of the year,” Clutterbuck said. “It can be a real stressful time. Just thankful that it got done… It’s home for me.”
A seldom goalscorer with random flashes of offensive prowess — he has just 68 goals in 587 games with the team — the 34-year-old’s physicality helped build the organization’s culture as a team built for the playoffs. It’s why Lamoriello even admitted that there was plenty of interest in the winger, who has over 2,100 hits during his stay in New York, though the Islanders are nowhere near a playoff spot after two straight trips to the Stanley Cup semifinals.
Parise was brought on prior to the 2021-22 season as a third-line option where he struggled mightily upon his introduction. Over his first 33 games with the team, he scored just once — though his effort made him one of the Islanders’ most consistent players while they plummeted down the standings due to COVID outbreaks, schedule uncertainties, and injuries.
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“The stats are so heavily weighed to the offensive players but the reliable, capable, trustworthy, effective players who don’t put up big numbers, they don’t have as many numbers to back that up,” head coach Barry Trotz said of Parise back in January. “You need those guys to win. You really do. Those guys set a tone… The offensive fancy stats are a lot more sexy than the will and the guys it takes to get a puck out or block a shot. Those stats don’t get as much play by everybody. They’re not as sexy.”
The 37-year-old has rewarded his head coach for such loyalty, recording seven goals and eight assists (15 points) over his last 27 games.
“I was pretty confident that I’d be coming back,” Parise said, who revealed that he and the Islanders initially discussed a two-year deal last summer. “We chatted again about it last week. Just happy we were able to get it done.”