The Los Angeles Kings have signed their first-round pick from the 2021 Draft, defenceman Brandt Clarke, to a contract. The deal is for three years with an annual cap hit of $925 thousand. The team announced the agreement Tuesday afternoon.
The LA Kings have signed defenseman @brandtclarke55 to a three-year, entry-level contract. ✍️
— LA Kings (@LAKings) August 10, 2021
Kings Sign Brandt Clarke
Clarke had what seems like a fine season in 2020-21. He played overseas with MHC Nove Zamky in the Slovak Extraliga where he scored five goals and 15 points in 26 games. The Nepean, Ontario native also appeared with Canada’s under-18 team at the World Junior Championships. He posted two goals and seven points in seven games for his home country. None of that should leap off the page at fans, but it’s important to remember that much of hockey in Canada didn’t happen in the past year. Playing mostly overseas and in fewer games overall means you shouldn’t put too much weight on the past year.
Clarke was one of the top eligible prospects going into the 2021 Draft. He has a solid frame at 6’1″, 181 pounds that will only become more effective with time in the weight room. His right-handed shot is also something that many teams find valuable as they balance their bluelines. Our own scouting report details a strong offensive defender that can help lead the charge with his skating and ability to handle the puck. Clarke looks every bit like a modern top-four defender.
What To Expect
Fans shouldn’t expect Clarke until 2022-23 at the very earliest. He is still just 18 years old and coming off of a very strange year of play. He will need at least one full year to get reset so he can battle for playing time in the near future. The good thing is that LA has been very focused on developing a strong pipeline of prospects so that Clarke won’t need to be at his best right away. Their rebuild allows them to ease him into NHL action when he is ready and not a moment before.
OSHAWA, ON – JANUARY 26: Brandt Clarke #55 of the Barrie Colts skates with the puck during an OHL game against the Oshawa Generals at the Tribute Communities Centre on January 26, 2020 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)