Yesterday, Winnipeg Jets defenceman Grant Clitsome announced his retirement due to a back injury. In addition to thanking the Columbus Blue Jackets, his announcement on the Jets official site mentioned how Winnipeg "truly was a special place to play and I’m proud to retire as a Jet." The 31-year-old's NHL career spanned 205 games and 71 points, with 112 GP and 35 points as a Winnipeg Jet.
After being claimed off waivers from the Columbus Blue Jackets in February of 2012, the native of Gloucester, ON had a solid 2012-13, playing in 44 of 48 games while posting four goals and 16 points. His reward was a three-year contract worth $2,066,666 per season, a deal unfortunately plagued by injury.
By December of 2013, Clitsome's back had become a significant concern:
Noel: Clitsome has back issues and hasn’t responded well so far. Reason why he is on the IR. #NHLJets— Scott Billeck (@ScottBilleck) December 27, 2013
Grant Clitsome (back) is a "slow process" according to Noel. He is not able to do much and isn't close to returning. "Frustrating." #NHLJets— Darrin Bauming (@DarrinBauming) January 9, 2014
One can easily and directly connect the dots from then to yesterday's retirement announcement. Over the aforementioned three seasons of his fourth and final NHL player contract, Clitsome played 32, 24 and 0 games. 2015-16's 0 tilts were in line with announced expectations, after Clitsome failed his physical back in September of 2015.
Looking at 2012-13 to 2014-15, Clitsome was a possession positive from both a raw and relative Corsi (all shot attempts, including blocked and missed opportunities) standpoint. As per Corsica Hockey:
(A reminder of how a minus or negative Rel.CA60 is good; it means the opposition had fewer opportunities with Clitsome on the ice. Clitsome had a positive i.e. bad Rel.CA60 in 2013-14, but this was completely overshadowed by offensive opportunity generation.)
Over those seasons, his most common pairings were Clitsome-Byfuglien, Clitsome-Byfuglien again, and Clitsome-Postma. Clitsome performed well whether beside Buff or Postma, with his limited action alongside the latter deserving special recognition:
It's an unfortunate end for any player, to have their career cut short by injury. In his limited action, Clitsome made a solid account of himself, serving as the kind of competent, capable depth successful teams have in the lineup. Speaking for Arctic Ice Hockey, we thank him for his time as a Winnipeg Jet and wish him well in his future endeavours.
Thanks for all the love! Grateful for living my dream and all the great people I met along the way. Looking forward to the next chapter.— Grant Clitsome (@GClitsome) June 1, 2016
Fancy stats are 5v5 score unadjusted, unless otherwise stated.