Clendening was a favorite of folks who followed the analytics movement, a nobody to most other onlookers, and somebody who wasn’t gonna get in the lineup on Alain Vigneault’s watch. But honestly, in a bigger role, Clendening might have been just fine on the third pair, and this is coming from a person who has one foot in the analytics ring and one foot out.
If Clendening is a fringe NHL player, the Rangers had two guys on their defense who wouldn’t be sniffing top-line minutes in the AHL. When paired with Brady Skjei, the two players worked well together and helped the Rangers push the pace of play. Clendening is a skilled young puck mover, albeit and average at best defender.
His Corsi for rating was the best of any Ranger to play at least 10 games (56.1). Clendening showed that he had the ability to quarterback the second power play unit in a few brief instances too. All of this wasn’t enough for the Rangers to qualify him an offer, making him an unrestricted free agent again this summer.
In October he will play with his sixth NHL team in four years. I really hope he sticks around somewhere, although it won’t be here.