The Chicago Blackhawks concluded their roster musical chairs on Tuesday by promoting defenseman Adam Clendening and forward Joakim Nordstrom from the Rockford IceHogs. The moves set the roster for the upcoming Circus Trip following the injury to Trevor van Riemsdyk, who was placed on long-term injured reserve Monday.
That was one of several moves the 'Hawks made a day ago, also sending Nordstrom to Rockford and promoting Stephen Johns. It turns out that was merely designed to maximize cap space, with Johns being sent down earlier Tuesday to make room for Clendening.
A second-round pick in the 2011 draft, Clendening has never appeared in the NHL before but seems likely to make his debut soon after the callup. In 16 games with the IceHogs this season, he's recorded four points (1G, 3A) in 16 games, which isn't great, but last season, he led Rockford with 59 points (12G, 47A) in 74 games.
When TvR initially went down, I thought that Clendening would be the most intriguing guy to call up given that offensive potential. It made the Johns move puzzling initially, although folks quickly figured out that it was merely to maximize cap space from the LTIR move and set up the promotion of another player. It was pretty much down to Clendening and Klas Dahlbeck, but I'm perfectly happy with seeing what the former can do with regular reps in the NHL.
That is, assuming he actually gets that kind of playing time. I don't think anybody would be surprised if the primary third pairing ends up being David Rundblad and Michal Rozsival while van Riemsdyk is out, as much as we'd all probably prefer to see the two young players getting the reps with Rozy as the seventh man. Clendening should get some chances with TvR expected to be out 2-3 months, though, so here's to hoping the kid can show some of the offensive skill that turned heads in Rockford last season.