Clendening sat out Monday's game against Columbus as a healthy scratch -- his fifth time in seven games out of the lineup. Even when he's played, Clendening hasn't cracked the 20-minute mark since the middle of October. The 24-year-old blueliner has missed the scoresheet in five straight games even when he's suited up, but he does usually get some power-play opportunities when he's on the ice.
Clendening scored his first two goals of the season in a 5-4 victory over the Blue Jackets on Saturday. The 24-year-old jump started the Rangers, who entered the third period down by two, with a power-play goal less than 1:30 into the final stanza. That was his first goal of the season, but it didn't take long for him to register his second. Clendening tied the game about 11 minutes later. He's not getting very much ice time for a defenseman, but Clendening has two goals and five points in 10 games and recorded eight shots on goal in the last two games combined.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he's considering including Clendening in Thursday's lineup against Winnipeg, the New York Daily News reports. A healthy scratch for 20 of the Rangers' last 22 games, Clendening has picked up assists both times he's had a chance to suit up in that span. An offensive-minded blueliner, he could bring some much-needed punch to a power-play unit that's been quiet of late, offering a right-handed shot from the point. Clendening still doesn't merit much interest in fantasy circles until he can find his way into the lineup more consistently.
Clendening has been a healthy scratch for 11 consecutive games. The 24-year-old is surely getting terrifically well acquainted with the Rangers' beat writers in the press box. New York could use an offensive boost on the blue line, but Clendening is unlikely to replace any of the veterans (or rookie Brady Skjei) in the lineup unless injuries strike.
Clendening is on the Opening Night roster and has been practicing with Brady Skjei on the Rangers' third defensive pairing, the New York Daily News reports. He'll have a small role to start out, but Clendening's offensive ability may end up helping him carve out a role on the Rangers' power play. His usage is worth monitoring, but most fantasy owners can comfortably leave him on the waiver wire for now.
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Last 7 Games
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