A dynamic offensive defender who could have the highest ceiling of any player in the 2021 draft class. He has good size but needs to fill out his frame and his skating is elite. A potential number one defenseman in the future.
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October 2022 – Clarke made his NHL debut on Thursday after being a healthy scratch for the season opener. The Kings have given Clarke an extended look after an impressive preseason where Clarke played big minutes at even strength and on both special teams. The 2021 eighth-overall selection is still likely to be reassigned to OHL Barrie after his nine-game stint despite his strong training camp. Patience is a virtue with Clarke because once he makes the NHL roster for good, he will quickly rise through the ranks and could become a top-pairing defenceman with a supreme offensive ceiling. Stash and wait if you have the roster space or a minor system, as Clarke is well on his way to reaching his potential. Sean Crocker
May 2022 – Clarke had a dazzling regular season with the Barrie Colts of the OHL, posting 59 points in 55 games played. Clarke was unable to suit up for any playoff games for the Colts after sustaining a knee injury. Despite the unfortunate end to his season, Clarke still holds tremendous value for the Kings organization as a former eighth-overall pick in 2020. While he can run a powerplay with pinpoint precision and transition the puck on a moment’s notice, Clarke is no slouch when it comes to physical play, as he loves throwing his mature 6-3 frame around when he can. Clarke is an absolute fantasy gem and should become a top player at his position given his ability to rack up points on the powerplay and even strength. He is a prime candidate to push for a roster spot with the Kings in the fall, and once he finds his stride at the NHL, the window to acquire him in dynasty and keeper leagues will surely be closed if it is not already. Sean Crocker
July 2021 – Clarke was selected in the first round, 8th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2021 NHL Draft. Nick Richard
February 2021 – Clarke went overseas to the Slovakian men’s league to play with HC Nove Zamky just before the New Year. The adjustment to playing overseas and against men hasn’t been without it’s bumps in the road but Clarke has shown some development as well as the flashes of skill that had scouts drooling in the second half of last season. While his straight-line skating needs a bit of work mechanically, the overall mobility is very good. He is able to maneuver the ice and open passing lanes, manipulating forecheckers to give himself room to break the puck out with a pass or his feet. He needs to work on his defensive game as he can sometimes seem a bit overwhelmed, trying the desperation play just to hold his head above water at times.
Offensively, the flashes of greatness remain. His ability to read and process the play, understanding when and where to jump into the play, is a big part of Clarke’s game. He has excellent offensive tools, none more valuable than his exceptional eye for the open man. The temporarily former Barrie Colts defender can spot a man a mile away and find their tape with a pass. His shimmy and shake in the offensive zone is also a trait that he shares with few forwards, let alone defenseman. Clarke remains one of the higher upside players in the draft class but unless he really starts to show some refinement, particularly defensively, Clarke may not be as favored to go in the top spot. Tony Ferrari
August 2020 – Silky smooth on his feet and with the puck, Brandt Clarke might have the highest upside of any player in the 2021 draft class. He was scoring at almost a point-per-game in the last 22 games of the year after the Barrie Colts made a coaching change. Clarke was seemingly freed from the chains that were holding him back, he became the player that so many thought he was. He was a game-breaker with the puck on his stick and displayed a control of the game that players his age generally don’t have. Ascending to the top powerplay and playing bigger minutes at even strength allowed Clarke to make an impact on the game seemingly nightly. His skating is elite with mobility in all directions, Clarke showed the ability to defend with good positioning and a good stick. He lacked physicality at times but at 6’1″ and 185lbs, he has plenty of growth ahead of him and should fill out his frame a bit next season. He is a transitional wizard at times when given the chance to carry the puck through the neutral zone, he has the hands and skill to evade defenders and gain zone entries with control. His offensive game is what makes him truly special. He utilizes his skating to drive the play and provide a dynamic presence from the backend. His vision is impressive and he finds passing and shooting lanes with regularity. He acts as a fourth forward at times, pushing below the offensive faceoff dots. The young attacking blueliner will need to mature and pick his spots a bit better because while he can recover at the OHL level, he may get burned as he advances in his hockey career. He should be a top-three pick in next year’s draft with a legitimate shot at going first overall, despite defenders rarely garnering that sort of attention. Tony Ferrari
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