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2017 Report Card: Adam Clendening

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NHL: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Who?

Sigh.

Where did it all go wrong? Coming out of preseason, Clendening was poised to be a major possession-driving defenseman. He played well while Dan Girardi nursed an injury and Nick Holden struggled (a nice way of saying "got deked out of his socks") ... but then when Girardi came back, it was Clendo who sat.

And sat.

And sat.

Statline: 28 boxes of popcorn, 14 hot dogs, 3 of those weird little containers of hummus with like two pretzels ...

I'm sorry. Ok for reals now.

Statline (5x5): 2 goals and 7 assists in 31 games played; CF% 56.41

Later in the season, he even sat for call-up Steven Kampfer against the Lightning in March. Asked for his thoughts on going back to the press box, Clendening didn't mince words to Larry Brooks:

“It kinda sucks. I’m not going to say I’m happy about it especially when I’ve gotten an opportunity like this,” said Clendening, who had recorded a goal and an assist with a minus-one overall in 16:15 per contest while playing six straight games after getting into 21 of the first 60. “I understand where I am when everyone’s healthy, that’s clear and I have no problem with that.

“But with the chance to find my game and get my rhythm, I think Brady and I have been really good together, but there was that one bad night. Somebody has got to take the fall.”

Locking Clendening in the press box was one of the most baffling of Alain Vigneault's many inexplicable defensive deployment decisions. When he was allowed on the ice, there was a visible axe hanging over his head. Few people do their best work under those circumstances.

Still, #4 managed to do this:

Whoops, wrong image. I mean THIS:

Keep in mind: nobody thought that Clendo was the second coming of Leetch. Those of us who argued for him just wanted to see what he could do with reasonable minutes, especially as the power play circled the goddamn drain. And now we will, but for another team, who just happened to call him "one of the steals of 2017 free agency." And they're right.

At only 24, Clendening will begin the 2017-18 season having already worn seven different sweaters. Let's hope the friendly ghost finally found a home, and won't be haunting the MSG press box in perpetuity, murmuring "*&&*%)*&%)% AV" in lieu of "Boo."

Grade: Incomplete