Clendening didn't want to leave Hawks when traded to Canucks

Adam Clendening will play his first game in the United Center Wednesday -- but as a Canuck. Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- Some former Chicago Blackhawks prospects welcomed being traded in recent years, because it meant a better NHL opportunity elsewhere.

Adam Clendening wasn’t one of them. He wasn’t dissatisfied with the Blackhawks when they decided to trade him to the Vancouver Canucks last month.

“I wasn’t there yet,” Clendening said on Wednesday before playing the Blackhawks. “I wasn’t expecting it, really, to be honest. I was just trying to work on my game down in Rockford and if I got another call up or if this happened, that was great. But if this ended up happening and it’s been a great opportunity since, I was never hoping or asking for anything to happen from Chicago.”

Clendening got a brief look by the Blackhawks in the NHL this season, but he spent most of his time in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs. It was his third full season in the AHL. With him not fitting into Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman’s long-term plans, Clendening was dealt for 18-year-old prospect Gustav Forsling on Jan. 29.

Clendening and other Blackhawks defenseman prospects’ chances of being called up to the NHL were diminished when Bowman acquired defenseman Tim Erixon for Jeremy Morin in December. Erixon gave the Blackhawks seven NHL defensemen, and they’re also expecting defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk back from a leg injury in the next month.

“We kind of get the business side of it,” Clendening said. “At least, the guys that have been around for a couple of years at least get the business side of the game. They gave up Mo and had to get an asset in return. We kind of get it. We’re not completely oblivious to the business side of the game.”

Clendening has already appeared in as many NHL games with the Canucks as he did with the Blackhawks. Wednesday will mark Clendening’s fifth game with the Canucks, and ironically his first at the United Center. He played four regular-season road games for the Blackhawks.

“The guys are giving me a hard time that I didn’t play a home game here,” Clendening said. “It’s the first game here. Could maybe be an expensive night.

“They’ve given me a good opportunity here and that’s all you can ask for anywhere. But it was nice to come to a team and come up top right away and get some games under your belt.”