On Thursday, the Minnesota Wild announced that they re-signed their most physical forward, Cal Clutterbuck, to a new 3-year contract extension, as he's finishing his entry-level contract this season. The deal is reported to be worth $4.2 million over the duration, meaning he'll be a cap hit of $1.4 million to the Wild in each of the three seasons he's signed for.
Clutterbuck isn't your conventional fantasy hockey player, especially since he isn't one of the high scorers for the Minnesota Wild this season. In 54 games this season, he has 12 goals and 6 assists. The 12 goals is nothing to sneeze at by any stretch of the imagination, especially since two of them are shorthanded, but Clutterbuck's league-leading 252 hits is definitely his most important statistic and if your fantasy pool counts hits for points, you are really enjoying his company this season.
My pools, however, don't count hits, so there really isn't a great deal of value to Clutterbuck, unless I could get some more people in the Draft.
The Wild are slowly putting together their 2011 team, now having 13 players signed on for next season, including Clutterbuck. Currently, they have an annual cap hit of $39.9 million, so they should be good & flexible for when free agency hits and they can start putting together another competitive team after somewhat of a flop in 2010. The core of the team already looks solid for the price tag involved, with Martin Havlat, Niklas Backstrom, Brent Burns and Mikko Koivu already in tow. The Wild are only five points out of a playoff spot, but I get the feeling with all the UFAs they will have come July 1st, they might see themselves as big sellers to improve their footing in the future.
This is a great signing for the Wild, locking up arguably the most physical player in the NHL these days. If he can somehow streak to 20 goals this season and be a 20-goal scorer in his three seasons, they will have worked out a massive bargain, especially since their division rivals, the Flames, just signed Rene Bourque to a deal that is double in length and even moreso in value. A very savvy signing, indeed.