Brandt Clarke is a generational talent, one that does not come around that often. He has blazing speed, is an intense competitor, and averages almost a point per game. Did I mention he is a defenseman?
The 6-foot-2 and 185 pound Clarke was the eighth overall pick by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. He was highly sought after like the second coming of Paul Coffey or Drew Doughty. The young star has elite skills that start with his NHL-type speed. One of the best puck handlers of that draft he has the skill set to move past opposing defenders as if they are standing still before using his premier passing to find an open teammate.
Last season, while playing for the Barrie Colts of the OHL, he skated in 55 games, posting 11 goals and 48 assists for 59 points, along with 29 penalty minutes, and was a +11. In his OHL career, he has played in 112 games, recording 17 goals and 80 assists for 97 points.
As for comparisons other than Coffey and Doughty he resembles the play of Sean Durzi as well, combining finesse with overall offensive skill and a bit of nastiness to his game. Clarke also finds pleasure in his defensive game, which has come a long way and allows him to be successful on the offensive end.
Playing for the Canadian u18 team in the 2020-21 World Jrs. he skated in 7 games, recording 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points. These games are against the best of every country and even include some of the top prospects for the NHL draft.
The only question is where does Clarke play in the 2022-23 season, in Los Angeles with the Kings or their AHL affiliate Ontario Reign?
On August 10, 2021, Clarke signed a 3-year ELC contract worth $5, 325, 000 so he is eligible to begin his pro career next season. He is good enough to make the Kings roster out of training camp but the Kings organization may want him to start his pro career in Ontario so he can get used to the pro style of play. Where do you think he begins the 2022-23 hockey season?
(photo: nhl.com; Mike Commito) (photo: lakingsinsider.com; Jack Jablonski)