Clendening, 29, has played nearly 450 games in the AHL over parts of nine seasons, while also adding 90 NHL appearances over the years. One of the most consistent offensive defensemen in the league, he’s racked up nearly 285 points in his minor league career, been named a First and Second Team All-Star, and even won a bronze medal at the World Championship for the U.S. in 2021.
Coming off a contract with the Philadelphia Flyers, Clendening taking an AHL deal shouldn’t be much of a surprise. His last NHL appearance came in 2018-19 with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and though he is an excellent minor league option, his offensive playstyle doesn’t fit the mold of NHL depth defenseman very well. Instead, he is best used as a difference-maker in the minor leagues, and a return to Rockford will certainly give him that opportunity.
The Blackhawks have been very clearly hoping to load up their AHL team this summer while doing the opposite for their NHL club. Clendening’s return–he last played for the IceHogs in 2018 but has several stints in his career–should only help the success in Rockford. He is already the club’s all-time leader in points from a defenseman, a record he will add to this year.