Adam Clendening, the 23 year-old defenseman from upstate New York, signed with the Rangers as a free agent on July 1st, with the Blueshirts becoming his sixth organization since the start of the 2014-15 season. Originally a second-round draft choice of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011, the offensive-minded blueliner has since moved on to the Vancouver Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers and now the Rangers.
In fact Clendening, who is 2-9-11 in 50 career NHL games, was part of two trades within a year that helped change the look of the eventual Stanley Cup champion Penguins--ones for Nick Bonino and Carl Hagelin.
Now Clendening, a good friend of Rangers forward Kevin Hayes, is looking to earn a spot on the Blueshirts defense corps; and earlier this week he chatted with BlueshirtsUnited.com.
BSU: There have been so many crazy twists and turns the last two years for you. So why did you decide to sign with the Rangers at this point in your career?
AC: They were a team on my radar ever since I knew I was going to leave Edmonton. I knew what they needed--a player like myself who can move the puck from the back end and has a good shot. They were pretty interested right away and I thought it was a good fit.
BSU: Is part of that good fit the style the team plays?
AC: Ever since (Alain Vigneault) has taken over they've had the same identity--they play fast, they play a north/south game, their D is always in the rush, they're a good puck possession team. All of this fits me. I like to make plays, join the rush, move the puck around quickly. I think the fit will work out pretty well.
BSU: You kind of did so a little bit already, but give us the Adam Clendening scouting report.
AC: I would say I'm a good puck moving defenseman who can quarterback the power play, makes a good first pass, is responsible in his own end and uses his body smartly and positions himself well. I'm not the biggest guy (6-foot, 195 pounds), but I like to play with an edge.
BSU: What has the past two years been like for you with all the trades and moves?
AC: It's been kind of a long couple years I've had with all the teams, and it would definitely be nice to find a role and a home in New York; but at the same time I've had the chance to play with a lot of world-class players and see a lot of different styles of play, and that's been good for my own growth. To have the chance to have played with (Patrick) Kane and (Jonathan) Toews and (Duncan) Keith, and then on to playing with the Sedin twins and then it's Sid (Crosby) and (Evgeni Malkin), and then on to Edmonton to play with one of the best young players in the world in Connor (McDavid), that's been amazing. Playing with a lot of teams and players has definitely opened my eyes and broadened my game.
BSU: Who was your favorite player growing up?
AC: My favorite player ever was Nicklas Lidstrom--just the way he approached the game and his skill, and as a I got older I paid more attention to the type of person he is and how he handled himself. The game he played was very unique, and I try to resonate that through my game, though at the same time I am aware he was the best in the world!
BSU: Are you excited to play for the Rangers at Madison Square Garden?
AC: It's unique to play for an Original Six team, and especially at MSG--the most famous building basically in the country To play 41 of your games in there is something special It's cool to see all those famous people by the glass. I've watched games on TV just to see who's there hanging out at the games! Original Six, to be a part of that again, is really special and unique.