Hailing from Niagara Falls, New York, Clendening last played in the NHL with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2018-19. The 30-year-old defenseman spent the 2022-23 season entirely in the AHL (not signed to an NHL contract), splitting time between the Hartford Wolf Pack and the Rockford IceHogs. Without the potential of an NHL call-up, Clendening still put up solid offensive totals, notching a total of 33 points, including four goals and 29 assists, in 68 games.
Clendening was originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and has since played for multiple organizations, including the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Arizona Coyotes, and the Blue Jackets. He’s played for the Rangers before, too, and that’s actually where his best pro season came. As a 24-year-old in 2016-17, Clendening played in a career-high 31 NHL games for the Rangers, recording two goals, nine assists and 11 points while averaging 15:49 per game.
With a PTO now in hand, Clendening has a chance to prove himself to the Rangers’ coaching staff and earn a return to Hartford for 2023-24. Doing so on an NHL contract might be tough, however. The Rangers have 46 out of the maximum 50 contracts signed, and they already have a wealth of strong call-up options from Hartford on NHL deals, such as Ben Harpur, Mac Hollowell and Connor Mackey. Clendening does not have an AHL agreement signed with Hartford for this season.