2018-2019 Season Review: Defenseman Adam Clendening

By Jacob Nitzberg on June 25, 2019 at 8:05 am
May 2, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Adam Clendening (6) checks Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) in the first period during game four of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nationwide Arena.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Raise your hand if you foresaw Adam Clendening getting minutes for the Blue Jackets in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Well, if your hand is up, you're either a liar or you should probably go play the lottery.

The Blue Jackets signed Clendening to a two-way, one-year deal last summer in one of their more unheralded moves. 

A stalwart defenseman for Cleveland, Clendening found himself bouncing back and forth between the Blue Jackets and Monsters, up and down I-71. 

When injuries plagued the Blue Jackets' defensive corps, Clendening got the call to suit up and performed admirably in what was undoubtedly an incredibly pressure-filled situation.

He is a restricted free agent. Did the Blue Jackets like what they saw out of Clendening enough to offer him a new contract, despite their overly crowded defensive group?

Clendening's Year

Since Clendening only played 4 games in the regular season plus 7 in the postseason, we've decided to include his postseason stats in the compilation below. 

11 0 1 1 2 0.1 2 0 0 9:45 42.5 54.5

Paired with stay-at-home defenseman Scott Harrington on a third defensive unit, Clendening's job wasn't to light up the scoresheet. He notched one assist in 11 games. 

The Blue Jackets are Clendening's seventh NHL franchise at the age of 26, but he seemed to find some chemistry with Harrington as the two played with each other throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Clendening is a gifted passer, and despite just the one assist, he was effective in finding breakout passes. Head coach John Tortorella had faith in Clendening's offensive game, despite the meager 9:45 average time on ice that he saw. The Blue Jackets' defenseman started 54.5% of his shifts in the offensive zone — a number higher than every single Blue Jackets' defenseman, save for Zach Werenski.

Unfortunately, Clendening's highlight of the campaign doesn't end well. He levels David Pastrnak in the video below, but Pastrnak would go on to score on that same shift. 

Still, though — it's a great open-ice hit.

Highlight of the Campaign


Clendening is an RFA, which means that the Blue Jackets can choose whether to make him a qualifying offer. Based on the depth that Blue Jackets are projected to have on the defensive end, it's unlikely that he'd see time with the NHL club if given an offer. 

Despite that, he was an outstanding contributor to the Cleveland Monsters (4G, 33A in 45GP) and it may be worth signing him for the boost in leadership and skill that he brings to the AHL roster.

Grade B-