BORN Feb. 9, 2003, Ottawa, Ont.
2020-21 Nove Zamky POS D
HT 6-2 WT 190 SHOOTS R
INTERNATIONAL SCOUTING SERVICES No. 4
With no OHL season, Clarke couldn’t play in Barrie, so he spent most of the year in Slovakia, going up against men with Nove Zamky. For a time, older brother Graeme (New Jersey) was there. too, but otherwise Clarke was a teenager in a foreign land just trying to find his way.
He did just fine. “He’s a very smart player,” said one scout. “His skating is fine, but it’s not the best. It’s a little knock-kneed. But he reads the game really well, that’s where he succeeds. It took him time to adjust in Europe, but once he did, he didn’t look out of place against men.”
Clarke finished second in blueline scoring on Nove Zamky, despite only playing about half the games. Along with learning a new culture, he also benefitted from competing on the bigger international ice. “Going over to the big ice was good for him, it created more of an emphasis on his skating, which is probably the area he needed to focus on the most,” said another scout. “A right-shot defenseman with that kind of vision and power-play ability is going to be a coveted player for sure.”
Clarke’s offensive instincts, playmaking and overall hockey IQ are his calling cards.
BEST CASE | John Klingberg
This excerpt is from The Hockey News’ Draft Preview issue. Purchase a digital copy of the issue here or subscribe to The Hockey News here.