Kale Clague Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #33

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Kale Clague of the Brandon Wheat Kings is another 2016 NHL Draft eligible player with good genetics. His father, Jason Clague, was a goalie in WHL and CIS hockey in the 1990s. Clague is a top four defenceman on the powerful Brandon Wheat Kings team that is currently in the WHL Final, and will be playing at home in this year’s Memorial Cup. He put up 6 goals and 43 points in 71 games during the regular season, but has turned his game up another notch with 6 goals and 14 points in 18 playoff games. Clague was the Captain of Canada Black at the 2015 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge, and was part of the gold medal winning Team Canada squad at last year’s Ivan Hlinka tournament. Clague also played for Team Cherry in this year’s CHL Top Prospects game, and for Team WHL in the Subway Super Series against Russia.

Kale Clague Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #33

Defense — shoots Left
Born Jun 5 1998 — Lloydminster, ALTA
Height 6’00” — Weight 178 lbs [183 cm / 81 kg]

Kale Clague is an outstanding skater. He has great top-end speed and acceleration in both directions allowing him to be an effective two-way defender. He can join the rush or make pinches in the offensive zone and still get back quickly on defence. He pairs the speed with good agility, pivots, and balance. This allows him to cover a huge amount of ice and transition quickly and easily from defence to offence or vice versa. He could stand to improve his lower body strength to improve his balance and win more board battles, as well as be better in clearing the front of the net.

Clague skates the puck up the ice well.  He has good stick handling ability and can use his agility to avoid forecheckers and create space to lead the rush. He can also start the transition game with a strong first pass out of the zone and often follows that pass to continue the attack. A natural power play quarterback, Clague can walk the line, throws strong, crisp passes, and has excellent vision. His slapshot is good, but can be improved by adding some muscle to his frame. Its already gotten better over the course of this season, but there is room to improve it even more. He already understands how to keep it low and on net, and how to get his shot through traffic. Clague also has a strong wrist shot which he uses to get the puck on net when facing pressure at the blue line.

Clague’s defensive game is good for a 17-year old, as he is paired with Ivan Provorov and often plays against the other team’s top lines. He works extremely hard to battle in the corners, but could use a bit more strength and balance. He has a quick stick and pokes pucks away from opponents on the rush, and intercepts passes to create transition. Clague has good positioning and  defensive gap control, keeping opponents to the outside. He could work on being more physical in his own end, but that can also come with increased strength.

Kale Clague will need some time to develop, but could be a solid second pairing defenceman with excellent puck moving skills and the ability to quarterback the power play at the NHL level in time. He has already been tested in high pressure situations, and has come out looking great in the process. Clague’s style is reminiscent of Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on talent.

The following is a compilation of Kale Clague highlights, taken from youtube.

Check back tomorrow for the #34 prospect on our NHL Draft board.

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