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Clutterbuck extension the latest example of Snow's mismanagement

Brad Penner / Reuters

A frustrating season for the New York Islanders has improved on the ice, but Garth Snow isn't doing his club any favors from the front office.

The general manager made the latest in a string of questionable moves Friday, signing Cal Clutterbuck to a five-year contract extension worth a reported $17.5 million.

The yearly dollar amount isn't the issue. Clutterbuck is already making $3.5 million in salary this season despite his $2.75-million cap figure. The controversial part is the term - more specifically, giving a fourth-liner five more years, ensuring he's under contract until age 34.

Clutterbuck certainly isn't useless, particularly when it comes to the penalty kill and his penchant to serve as a net-front presence, but much of his value is intangible, and therefore, it's difficult to justify this move.

He does do one quantifiable thing well, ranking fifth in the NHL among qualified skaters with 3.6 hits per game, but racking up hits simply means you don't have the puck.

Though Snow is an experienced GM, this is hardly his first misstep.

He signed 30-year-old forward Andrew Ladd to a seven-year, $38.5-million deal on July 1, in a clear effort to offset the departures of Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen, who agreed to significant contracts elsewhere. Ladd has three goals and six points in his first 26 games with the Islanders.

Snow also seems to have his own sort of seven-year itch. He inked defensemen Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk to deals of that length in February and March 2015, respectively. Leddy's pact was for the same amount as that of Ladd, and Boychuk is earning $42 million.

Then there was the Casey Cizikas contract. Snow gave Clutterbuck's fellow fourth-liner a five-year extension of his own in June.

The Islanders now have only two pending unrestricted free agents (veteran blue-liner Dennis Seidenberg and backup goaltender Thomas Greiss), but they've also committed about $30 million to six players for 2018-19, when John Tavares is scheduled to become a free agent.

Clutterbuck and Tavares were OHL teammates and the captain likely appreciates having his de facto bodyguard locked in, but that might not matter if the Islanders are too hamstrung by Snow's ill-advised long-term commitments to pay Tavares what he wants when that time comes.

The Clutterbuck deal is just the latest example of how Snow is hurting the Islanders' long-term flexibility by giving non-superstars too many years.

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