Cal Clutterbuck is set to return to the Islanders
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Lane Lambert expressed optimism Monday about Cal Clutterbuck’s chances of playing in Tuesday night’s Islanders game against the Canucks. The right winger was nevertheless out for the 6-2 win with a right finger injury.
“He’s getting closer,” Lambert said after the Islanders’ morning practice, which Clutterbuck attended. “We’ll see how this journey progresses.”
The Islanders will play back-to-back in Edmonton and Calgary starting Thursday before having three days off when they return home. Clutterbuck spoke with Aatu Raty and Matt Martin on Monday.
Of the five Islanders battling injuries, Clutterbuck, who has not played since December 16, is the closest to a return.
Kyle Palmieri (upper body) skated, but was not at full speed in practice. He was on the ice Tuesday morning for an optional skate. Simon Holmstrom (knee), Adam Pelech (upper body) and Oliver Wahlstrom (head) did not travel with the team. Semyon Varlamov (groin) was activated on Monday.
The Islanders have ties to winger Jakub Vrana, who was shockingly placed on waivers by the Red Wings Tuesday morning. Lambert coached Vrana as an assistant with the Capitals and Vrana’s agent JP Barry also represents Mathew Barzal.
The Islanders could meet Vrana’s $5.25 million cap if they choose to pick up the former 25-goal leading scorer with waivers.
Vrana began the player support program in October and was in the middle of a conditioning stint with AHL Grand Rapids before being waived. He played two games this season and has a history of injuries, having had shoulder surgery last season.
It’s unclear whether general manager Lou Lamoriello would be willing to ignore those issues in order to bring Vrana to Long Island. But on paper, Vrana is the kind of goalscorer the Islanders could use in their top six.
Lambert said he has not spoken to Damar Hamlin’s team, the NFL Bills safety who collapsed Monday in Cincinnati, but the players have discussed it among themselves.
“Everyone … knows what happened,” Lambert said. “Certainly, I think they definitely made the right choice in doing what they did in terms of the game. The guys have certainly talked about it.
New York Post
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