Adam Clendening Finds Foothold in Cleveland Power Play
Adam Clendening has made an impact in first season with the Cleveland Monsters, proving to be a valuable asset beyond statistics on the ice and earning his spot as a team leader.
Originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011, the Niagara Falls, NY, native is currently in the midst of his sixth season in the American Hockey League and has played parts of five seasons in the National Hockey League.
The second-oldest defenseman on the team, Clendening has become easily incorporated within the Monsters’ veteran-laden lineup and has represented the team as an alternate captain on several occasions. At 26 years old he by no means is an ‘older’ player, but says he uses his experience in the professional ranks to assist Cleveland's younger prospects who have yet to fully acclimate to the rigors of life in the AHL.
Clendening’s strong authority on the ice is something that has translated into his play, with the 2018-19 season currently on pace to be his best campaign statistically since 2013-14.
He currently leads the team in assists (27), plus/minus (+12), power-play assists (13) and penalty minutes (94) and ranks fourth on the team in points (31) - being the only defenseman among Cleveland’s top-five scorers this year. Clendening’s 27 helpers this season also currently rank in the league’s top-ten among defensemen (8th).
n i c e. pic.twitter.com/lJ1hDu8Hti
— Cleveland Monsters (@monstershockey) March 3, 2019
“I don’t try to force things,” said Clendening regarding his game this season. “The easier it is to make the right play and the more simple you are, the better everyone else is to read off that.”
A perfect example of the defenseman making an easy play has been seen on Zac Dalpe’s last two power-play goals. In almost identical situations, Clendening ripped a shot from the top of the offensive zone that Dalpe subsequently redirected to help the puck fly pass the opposing goalie. When asked about both recent goals, Dalpe posited that both situations were made possible by Clendening’s pre-faceoff direction and immaculate execution.
As Clendening and the Monsters look to continue their cohesive style of play, the remainder of the season becomes a race for teams in each of the AHL’s four divisions to secure a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs with tough opponents remaining on Cleveland’s schedule. The next test will come as a rematch versus the Belleville Senators on Friday, March 8.
On Thursday, March 8, the Monsters secured a 2-1 North Division win to snap the Senators' 17-game point streak and close the gap in this year's playoff race. After the win, Cleveland now sits four points out of playoff contention and maintains their perfect home record against Belleville this season.
“We need the points and they are a team we have to catch,” said Clendening. “Essentially it needs to be a four-point weekend, and if we can get both games it will go a long way to accomplish what we are trying to do.”
MONSTERS WIN!!! pic.twitter.com/BLdu4hbVrc
— Cleveland Monsters (@monstershockey) March 8, 2019