The Chicago Blackhawks traded Adam Clendening because they had a problem.
Granted, it was one of those good problems to have, but a problem nonetheless — too many young, right-shooting defensemen. For example, 24-year-old David Rundblad and 23-year-old Trevor van Riemsdyk. And down on the farm, 22-year-old Stephen Johns and 20-year-old Ville Pokka, the latter being the prospect the ‘Hawks got from the Islanders in the Nick Leddy trade.
So the ‘Hawks dealt Clendening, 22, to Vancouver for Gustav Forsling, a left-shooting d-man the Canucks drafted 126th overall this past summer.
Forsling, unlike Clendening, is not very close to playing in the NHL, if he ever gets there. A star for Sweden at the World Juniors, he’s still only 18, and has some filling out to do.
Here’s Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times, with coach Joel Quenneville’s explanation:
Another factor is waivers. Clendening will need them next season. And remember that the ‘Hawks already lost a young d-man for nothing in 2013, when Ryan Stanton, 24 at the time, was claimed off waivers by Vancouver.
Clendening, the type of offensive defenseman the Canucks were desperate to add, was also going to find it tough to put his best skills to use for the Blackhawks, who entrust the large majority of their power-play time to veterans Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.
Keith, of course, is locked up through 2023. And while Seabrook can become an unrestricted free agent in 2016, one would think the ‘Hawks will do everything they can to get him re-signed.
If they can’t, well, again, lots of young, right-shooting d-men in the system.