Cal Clutterbuck, who made his NHL debut in 2007 with the Wild and has been dealt once, still hasn’t formulated a good way to feel comfortable around the NHL trade deadline, which is Monday at 3 p.m.
“I don’t know how to approach it,” the Islanders right wing said. “I’ve been through 12 of them now. There’s not much you can do about it either way. It’s interesting to watch but it’s not so much fun to see your name come up on TV.”
Nothing is ever guaranteed without a full no-trade clause but Clutterbuck and his teammates on the NHL roster can probably breathe a little easier than normal. Coach Barry Trotz said he’s not expecting president and general manager Lou Lamoriello to make “deletions” from the Metropolitan Division-leading Islanders.
Which is different from saying Lamoriello is not looking to improve the Islanders as they seek their first playoff berth since 2016. It’s just an indication Lamoriello probably feels more comfortable including prospects or draft picks in any deal.
The Islanders (36-18-7) did not practice on Sunday after concluding a 1-1-1 Western Canada trip with a 4-0 win at Vancouver on Saturday night. They open a five-game homestand – and a stretch of eight of nine at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum – against the Flames on Tuesday night.
The second-place Capitals, two points back of the Islanders, and the third-place Blue Jackets, who brought in top-end rental forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel from the rudderless Senators, have made trades to try and improve their rosters.
Trotz said that doesn’t necessarily put pressure on Lamoriello to do likewise.
“When the trade deadline is done, that’ll be our team and we’ll work with the parts we have and we’ll go from there,” Trotz said. “Teams add and, sometimes, it actually helps the team. Sometimes, they add and it gets them in a little bit of a flux. Every team is different.
“We have good chemistry on our team.”
Trotz indicated both left wing Andrew Ladd, out since Nov. 15, and Thomas Hickey, sidelined since Dec. 18, will be activated off long-term injured reserve once the trade deadline passes.
“Those will be great adds,” Trotz said.
Lamoriello has seven impending unrestricted free agents on the Islanders’ roster, including the top line of captain Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle and center Brock Nelson, along with goalie Robin Lehner, who set a career high with his fourth shutout on Saturday.
None are expected to be moved, though no contract extensions appear imminent.
“A little bit of uncertainty comes this time of the year and everyone deals with it,” Lee said. “We put ourselves in position where it’s a fun and interesting week and it’s a meaningful week for us.”
Notes & quotes: G Jeremy Smith, 29, agreed to terms on a two-way contract for remainder of 2018-19. Smith, 29, has played 32 games this season for the Islanders' American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He is tied for the team lead in wins (16-9-1) and has recorded a 2.92 goals-against-average and .900 save percentage. He was named the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for December after going 6-1-0 with a 2.12 goals-against-average and .931 save percentage in seven starts . . . Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, 37, who played for the Islanders the last two seasons, signed a contract for the rest of this season. He has been practicing with the team since coming to training camp on a professional tryout offer.