On the first day of the 2018 free agency frenzy, the Columbus Blue Jackets signed defender Adam Clendening to a one-year, two-way contract.
The Jackets assigned him to the Monsters and that’s where things really took off for Clendening. He immediately made a big impact on the team. Seriously, Clendening’s hits were big, his saves were big, he shots were big. I’m fairly certain Clendening’s motto in life is “Go Big or Go Home” because everything he did had a BIG impact on the team.
In March, Clendening took a nasty hit from Darren Archibald of the Belleville Senators. He was out for weeks recovering from an “undsiclosed upper body injury”. Honestly, after seeing this hit in real-time and in person, I’m surprised Clendening came back as early as he did.
yikes Darren Archibald throws some massive hits pic.twitter.com/AMGM5pi4zY— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) March 9, 2019
During his recovery period, the defense struggled without Clendening on the ice. It was then I realized just how important he was to the Monsters’ defense. It was the little things he did every game like knowing where to place himself and agitating the opposition which allowed the team to flourish. Without him breaking up plays and annoying the crap out of the opposition’s first line, the defense had to work extra hard to fill those gaps. In fact, the offense had an easier time filling in those gaps than the defense.
Things were a bit shaky for Clendening when he came back from his “undisclosed upper body injury”. It took him a few games to adjust to being back on the ice. Once Clendening shook the rust off his skates, there was no stopping him from forcing turnovers and protecting Brad Thiessen.
During the final few weeks of the regular season, Clendening bounced between the Blue Jackets and the Monsters helping propel them towards the 2019 playoffs.
Realizing what they had in Clendening, the Jackets held onto him for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. His ability to get under both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins skin was quite helpful during the Jackets run. He also showed the league that he is more than just big hits and agitation. People were privy to Clendening’s smooth, quick skating and slick puck handling.
Adam Clendening 2018-19 Regular Season Stats - Monsters
Games Played: 4 (CBJ) / 45 (CLE)
Goals: 0 (CBJ) / 4 (CLE)
Assists: 0 (CBJ) / 33 (CLE)
Points: 0 (CBJ) / 37 (CLE)
+/-: +1 (CBJ) / +18 (CLE)
Penalty Minutes: 0 (CBJ) / 98 (CLE)
Adam Clendening 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff Stats
Games Played: 7
Penalty Minutes: 2
During the last two weeks of the regular season, Clendening bounced between the Jackets and Monsters. He slid in and out of the line up without any issues. It took Clendening virtually no time to learn the ins and outs of the Jackets system. Clendening’s ability to adapt to whatever play is thrown his way is one of the best parts of watching him play.
Also, Clendening’s hits are pretty awesome. He knows how to lay a good, strong hit.
HUGE hit from Adam Clendening on David Pastrnak, though Pastrnak would eventually score on the shift: pic.twitter.com/9y6OGpUksx— The Cannon (@cbjcannon) May 2, 2019
While playing, Clendening wears his emotions on his sleeves. You never have to guess what Clendening is thinking or feeling. Typically, this is a good thing and helps power the team to a strong finish. However, there have been moments during the 2018-19 season where Clendening let anger or frustration over take him causing a detrimental mistake to me made.
During January 18th’s game at the Laval Rocket, an official kept getting in the way of both teams. This particular official foiled so many shot attempts and passes you would have thought he was a member of the Monsters or Rocket. Towards the end of the game, Clendening had enough and slashed the official’s foot.
While the official was clearly wrong for making himself a part of the game, Clendening knows that officials are off limits. His frustration with the situation boiled over and the Monsters ended up losing Clendening for three games.
Seeing as how he was one of the better defenders on the team, it hurt the Monsters to lose Clendening for that amount of time.
How would you grade Adam Clendening’s 2018-19 season?
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