It’s understandable why much of the chatter following the Kings losing two players on waivers a few weeks ago centered around defenseman Thomas Hickey - after all, he was a former number one draft pick. However, they also lost forward Rich Clune that day.
And tonight, he returns to LA with the Nashville Predators.
Originally taken by the Dallas Stars in the third round of the 2005 NHL Draft, Clune made his way to the Kings organization via a trade in the summer of 2008. At 5-foot-10 and a three-time 20-goal scorer in the OHL, he was a typical Dean Lombardi acquisition – a guy who was loved by his teammates and would run through a brick wall for you.
Clune made his NHL debut with the Kings at Staples Center on February 11, 2010 vs Edmonton. The following night he recorded two points, both assists, against the Colorado Avalanche. He went on to play 12 more regular season games with the Kings that season and then saw action in four playoff games vs. Vancouver.
He’s spent the last two years with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL, where he never found an opponent he wasn’t willing to drop the gloves with.
Upon his return to the arena where he played his first NHL game, Clune shared a few thoughts with MayorsManor…
“I just want to let the entire Kings organization know that I’m very grateful for everything they’ve done for me,” he said. “Ive grown up under their watch and sometimes things don’t work out the way you want. But, I’ve moved on to another great organization and I’m excited to see where this new chapter in my career goes.”
His appreciation extends beyond just a general thank you though, there were two individuals he wanted to specifically mention by name.
“I want to personally thank Ron Hextall and coach Mark Morris. They’ve both been a tremendous help with my hockey career and personal life and I’ll always be grateful for that.”
Since being acquired by Nashville, Clune has played five games for the Predators this season and in typical fashion, he’s already had three fights.
On a personal note, he was always a pleasure to deal with, even though some of his best answers were things we wouldn’t print here on MayorsManor. He never ducked a question and wasn’t afraid to put his comments out there – including the time he said there weren’t a lot of guys in the Kings locker room who would ever win a scoring title (link).
Best of luck to Rich Clune. A one-in-a-million character.
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