The Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks have enjoyed a spirited rivalry in recent years, but that didn't stop the two franchises from consummating a trade late Thursday night, swapping two young defenseman: heading to the Hawks from Vancouver is 18-year-old Swedish blueliner Gustav Forsling; going the other way is 22-year-old American d-man Adam Clendening.
Neither player is ready for full-time NHL duty yet. Forsling, born in Linkoping, Sweden and drafted in the fifth round (126th overall) by Vancouver in 2014, was named to the IIHF World Junior championship's All Tournament Team in 2015, but at 5-foot-11 and 176 pounds, he's going to need time to mature in Chicago's system. Clendening, a native of Niagara Falls, N.Y. and a Boston University alumnus, was drafted at a much higher slot (in the second round, 36th overall, of the 2011 draft) than Forsling and had made his NHL debut in November, scoring his first goal on his first shot. However, he's appeared in just four NHL games this season (registering two points in total) and was continuing his apprenticeship in the American League at the time the deal went down.
Like all trades involving players still at the beginning of their professional careers, this one will be impossible to properly judge until years have passed. However, Clendening will get a shot at cracking the Canucks' less-than-intimidating defense corps, and the depth of Chicago's blueline will allow Forsling the development time most youngsters require. Call it a wash – for now.