By Tim Healey/DFP Staff
Adam Clendening’s career as a Boston University Terrier is over.
The 19-year-old defenseman signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday, opting to forego his final two years at BU. The Blackhawks selected him in the second round (36th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft.
“My advisor and the 'Hawks had been talking for a while, discussing things, and it ended up just being the right offer and the right time,” Clendening said.
Clendening wraps up his BU career with 59 points (nine goals, 50 assists) in 77 games over the course of two years donning scarlet and white. Clendening said he had anticipated returning to BU for his junior year – therefore adding to those totals and anchoring the Terrier defensive corps – but the Blackhawks stepped up their interest of late.
With the support of this family, Clendening decided to end his collegiate career.
“The Hawks put some pressure on me, not that it is bad pressure – it was always up to me at the end,” Clendening said. “Pressure might not be the right word. I would say more they showed interest.”
Clendening’s signing comes as a shock to those who assumed he would be back for his junior year, though he said he always just tried to go with the flow.
“It’s always a thought when you’re in school and you’re a wanted player. ‘Is the team going to sign me? Is the team going to sign me?’ You never know,” Clendening said. “I wasn’t looking to be signed, I was just going along and whenever the time was right, I felt it was right, was when I was going to do it. It came maybe just a little earlier than everybody expected.”
Since Clendening was drafted last June rumors surfaced that his father, Frank, was pushing him to go pro. But when it came down to it, according to Adam, that was not necessarily the case.
“At the end of the day, believe it or not, my dad. . . . He watches a lot of hockey, and he was actually kind of wanting me to come back for my third year,” Clendening said. “He looks at guys like [New York Rangers defenseman] Ryan McDonagh, who have played three years, [Rangers forward] Chris Kreider, a lot of college guys that seem to do well [in the NHL] after three years.”
That said, Frank was not exactly sad to see his son go pro to make an average of $650,000 each of the next three years.
“Every father’s end goal for their son is to see them play in the NHL,” Adam said.
Although he won’t officially be done with BU until the end of June – he’s staying on campus to finish his Summer I classes – he spoke very highly of his time there.
“I’m going to miss this place like crazy. The friendships I have here, every single one of these guys, they’re like my brothers,” Clendening said. “The friendships are what make this whole experience special, especially the guys in my class.”
The Wheatfield, N.Y., native gave BU coach Jack Parker a “heads-up” before signing the paperwork – “It was just a normal conversation,” Clendening said – and acknowledged the pros and cons to coming back to BU and signing with Chicago.
But in the end, “learning the lifestyle of a pro” and playing 70 games per season outweighed the benefits of another year of college.
“It’s kind of sinking in now that I guess I can’t come back. I’ve played my last game at Agganis,” Clendening said. “The fans were great, the support was great, even through all the tough times.
“I always wanted to be a Terrier . . . and I hope that I always will be.”