Centre Rob McClanahan was a decent role player in parts of five seasons in the 1980s. His quickness helped him be a versatile performer who could be of use on both specialty teams.
The St. Paul native played three seasons with the University of Minnesota and was chosen 49th overall by the Buffalo Sabres after his sophomore year in 1978. After representing the U.S. at the 1979 World Championships, the young forward committed to the national program for a year and scored 34 goals in 63 exhibition games. The culmination of McClanahan's amateur career came at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics when he scored five goals while helping his country win the gold medal.
Following the Olympics, McClanahan joined the Sabres and helped the club reach the semi-finals. He was a decent role player in 1980-81 when he was often teamed with Steve Patrick and Gilles Hamel, but ultimately he did not fit into the club's plans. The young forward played for Team USA at the 1981 Canada Cup and was picked up on waivers by the Hartford Whalers.
After splitting most of the 1981-82 season between the NHL and AHL's Binghamton Whalers, McClanahan was acquired by the New York Rangers. He scored 14 points in 22 games and seven points in ten post-season matches as the Blueshirts reached the Patrick Division finals. In 1982-83, he was placed on a line with Anders Hedberg and Mark Pavelich and responded with a career-high 22 goals. His play and ice time dropped off the next season and he scored only six goals in 41 games. McClanahan retired shortly after he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in August 1984.