Islanders re-sign Cal Clutterbuck and Zach Parise, but stay put otherwise at trade deadline
Lou Lamoriello looked toward next season, not the rest of this season, at Monday’s NHL trade deadline.
The Islanders’ president and general manager announced the re-signing of impending unrestricted free agents Cal Clutterbuck and Zach Parise, both bottom-six forwards. But with the Islanders 19 points out of a playoff spot, the 3 p.m. deadline passed without Lamoriello importing a rental or trading away any of his other impending UFAs for draft picks or prospects.
“We certainly spoke to many teams,” Lamoriello said. “But right now, we are where we’re at.”
Clutterbuck, 34, an Islander since 2013, agreed to a two-year, $3.5 million deal. Parise, 37, signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal identical to the one he signed last offseason after the Wild bought out the final four seasons of his 13-year, $98 million deal.
Clutterbuck and Parise indicated that it became clear during the past week that they would be able to work out new deals with Lamoriello.
“We had spoke last summer about doing a two-year deal,” Parise said. “We did the one to start. I was pretty confident that I would be coming back and we had chatted again about it last week.”
“I’m thrilled to sign an extension and have that dealt with,” Clutterbuck said. “Especially this time of the year, it can be a stressful time. I’m thrilled to be here for a couple of more years with these guys and this organization. It’s home for me.”
Lamoriello acknowledged that Clutterbuck attracted interest from playoff contenders, as did goalie Semyon Varlamov, who will turn 34 next month and whose four-year, $20 million deal runs through next season. Lamoriello said impending UFA defensemen Zdeno Chara, 45, and Andy Greene, 39, indicated they hoped not to be moved.
Lamoriello also acknowledged that any hockey team “always want to be as young as you can possibly be.”
“As far as this time of the year, it’s impossible to make any transaction in that light,” he said. “In re-signing Cal and Zach, they would be two players we would have to replace in the role that they have, and I don’t feel that would be able to take place in the summer. So it doesn’t affect what we want to do with our team, whatever changes.
“Any assets that potentially could have come back for our free agents, if we thought that would make our team better, we would have certainly done that. But that was not the case. It appears that it was just a stand pat because we’re satisfied. We are certainly not satisfied. I like the way our team has played over the last several games.”
The Islanders, who did not practice on Monday and face the Senators on Tuesday night at UBS Arena, are on a 6-2-1 run. Lamoriello indicated the team will use the rest of the season to evaluate what changes need to be made for next season.
Lamoriello said the Islanders are solid in net but might need to add a “certain type” of defenseman (read: a puck-mover).
“We’ll find out about our scorers,” he said. “That’s where we’ve certainly underproduced this year, up to this point. Disappointed what has transpired there and we’ll see where our forwards are from now until the end of the year.”
Given the salary cap, Lamoriello said improving won’t be done only by adding players.
“We’re going to have to get better by making hockey trades,” he said. “That’s the only conversations we were having over the last several days. Can we make a hockey trade that will make us better tomorrow as well as today? And that wasn’t able to get done.”