ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)–For the second time in less than a week, the IceHogs have decided to bring back a key player from the past. First, they signed forward Dylan Sikura. Now they have signed defenseman Adam Clendening to a one-year contract.
The last time we saw Clendening in Rockford was in the 2017-18 season. He was a key player in the IceHogs’ postseason run to the AHL’s Western Conference Finals. He is a versatile two-way player, and he says as he approaches his 30th birthday he’s still at the peak of his career.
“I definitely feel like I’m peak performance, peak shape. You know I think it’s, sometimes they say you get better as you get older, and I think that’s kind of where I’m at. My game has definitely rounded out.”
Clendening has actually played with the IceHogs twice before. First from 2012 through 2015, and again in the 2017-18 season. His name is all over the IceHogs’ record books. He has scored more points than any defenseman in IceHogs’ history. He has more assists than any defenseman in IceHogs’ history.
He is also fourth in franchise history in all-time points among all players and second in assists. His close friend Brandon Pirri ranks number one in both of those categories.
“He texted me,” said Clendening. “I told him if I get the record (for all-time assists) that he’d have to come back and play another year or two. We’ve got a little side action on if I can get it or not.”
During his professional career, Clendening has been around. He has suited up for seven NHL franchises and six AHL franchises. Returning to Rockford keeps him and his family close to home.
“My wife is from the Tinley Park area. We actually own a place in Frankfort. It’s like a southern suburb of Chicago. I think being comfortable (with the IceHogs), knowing the city, knowing the fans, knowing the schedule, the travel, you know, and all the success I’ve had in the past it’s a special place for me.”
Clendening still wants to play in the NHL again. He also would like to see the IceHogs recapture some of that playoff magic that they had in 2018.
“When we went on that run there for a while with a real good team there, you know, kind of trying to do the same thing. I had a blast that time.”
The return of Clendening could give the IceHogs a strong group of defenseman that might also include Ian Mitchell, Alec Regula and Isaak Phillips.