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Clendening ready to graduate to big time in Chicago

Pittsburgh Penguins v Chicago Blackhawks

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Adam Clendening #49 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins during an exhibition game at United Center on September 19, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Penguins defeated the Blackhawks 4-3 in a shootout. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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The Chicago Blackhawks could be in for an interesting time in training camp when it comes to their defensive corps.

While there are rumors that Johnny Oduya could be traded this summer, prospect defenseman Adam Clendening has his sights set on creating competition to get into the Chicago lineup on his own as Tracey Myers of shared.

“I’ve played two years in the American League but that time there really helped me, I think,” he said. “I worked on my defensive side of the puck, got to play against the other team’s best players for two years and some of those guys are now playing in the NHL.”

Those two guys are Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy and Vancouver Canucks blue liner Ryan Stanton. At 21 years old, Clendening will have a battle to crack the lineup whether Oduya is still in Chicago or not.

Chicago already has at least four spots set in stone with Leddy, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Niklas Hjalmarsson. If Oduya sticks around that’s five. That leaves Clendening to fight it out with veterans Michal Rozsival and David Rundblad as well as fellow youngster Stephen Johns.

It sure seems like something’s got to give in Chicago, especially with the salary cap crunch they’re in, but it remains to see if it’ll be on defense.

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