Cal Clutterbuck: Minnesota Wild's Next Goal Scoring Leader?

Nick MaxsonCorrespondent IJanuary 29, 2011

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 04: Cal Clutterbuck #22 of the Minnesota Wild scores a first period goal against Johan Hedberg #1 of the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on January 4, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Yes, if someone told me George Parros, Derek Boogaard or Dan Carcillo would lead their teams in goals on the season, I would laugh too.

Minnesota's Cal Clutterbuck is a player with more skills than just the ability to hit opposing players into the glass. He has all the tools necessary to become one of the great goal scorers in the NHL.

Still unconvinced? Maybe a few stats might persuade you.

In Clutterbuck's junior years with the Oshwa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League, where he spent three seasons before joining the Wild, he was one of the leading goal scorers on the team.

His first season with the generals was an adjustment year, in 27 games with Oshwa he netted nine goals and nine assists for 18 points on the season.

It didn't take Cal long to adjust to the OHL because as soon as next season he was turning up the heat.

In the 2005-06 season, Clutterbuck netted 35 goals and 33 assists in 66 games with the Generals.

Yes, 35 goals.

This kid was producing more than a point per game, and the next season was even better.

In 2006-07, his last season in the OHL before being picked 72nd overall in the NHL entry draft, he showed that the previous season was no joke.

Clutterbuck once again netted 35 goals, but added 54 assists for 89 points in 65 games, and was a plus 11.

He even performed well in the playoffs that season. In nine games he tallied eight goals and five assists for 13 points.

His team seems to perform well when he lights the lamp. Minnesota is 11-2-1 when he scores a goal and with a new career high 14 goals this season already, he could get to the 30 goal mark on the year.

The 14 goals tie him with Havlat, Koivu and Burns for the team lead.

So, how does this human bulldozer with NHL lead in hits the past two seasons have a scoring touch?

He has a very quick release in his shot, a dangerous weapon on any goaltender.

He can pick the corners too. Some of the goals we have seen this season have come off great goaltenders like Tukka Rask and Marc-Andre Fluery and were perfectly placed in the top corners of the net.

His shot is also very hard and it might be the hardest shot on the team behind Cam Barker's laser beam slapshot

He also uses his physical play to create space and capitalize offensively. Already we have seen Clutterbuck use his body on the fore-check and then move into open space he created and cash in with a goal.

Clutterbuck also has a great surrounding cast, with new additions such as Matt Cullen and Eric Nystrom along with long-time Wild players Andrew Brunette Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Brent Burns who have offensive skills in shooting and passing, he will get plenty of opportunities to put pucks in the net or create scoring chances.

With all these factors in place, it would be hard to count Clutterbuck out for a chance at being a great scoring forward for many years to come.