OHL Prospect Profile: Brandt Clarke

– Brandt Clarke –

Don Mills Flyers (GTHL) | Right Defence | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Nepean, Ontario | February 9, 2003 | 5-foot-9, 141-pounds

Brandt Clarke is a dynamic, offensive defenceman with game-breaking talent. The brother of Ottawa 67’s forward, Graeme Clarke, Brandt possesses outstanding instincts and puck skills. Far and away the most talented player along the blueline, Clarke is shifty and creative with the puck, utilizing his elite skating abilities to avoid troublesome situations.

Related: Check out our 2019 OHL Draft Ranking: October Top-20

At the Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament, Clarke put his eye-popping capabilities on display, concluding the tourney with three goals and eight points in as many games, en route to the tournament championship. Clarke is an all-around poised defenceman who plays the game cool under pressure. He arguably has the greatest upside of any defenceman among this year’s draft class.

Strengths:

  • Hockey Sense
  • Skating
  • Transition Game

Brandt Clarke’s game is a culmination of his incredible hockey sense. He sees the ice as well as anyone and can calmly maneuver through traffic with the puck with incredible frequency. This is where Clarke puts his skating prowess on display, combining a smooth and strong stride with excellent edgework to become a menace to defend.

Related: Check out the Top 20 Performers of the Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament

Clarke can walk the blueline under pressure as well as any defenceman in the last decade, with an endless supply of moves to keep the puck in zone before dishing it off to a teammate, or firing the puck on net through screens to generates rebounds and deflections. On the defensive side, Clarke forces his opponents into the corners and showcases his intelligence with perfect stick positioning to break up offensive rushes or pick off passes.

Area of Improvement:

  • Strength

If there’s one area that OHL scouts would love to see an improvement, it would simply come with greater size and strength. A common weakness among 15 and 16-year-old prospects is that they simply haven’t matured enough to fill out their frame. This storyline runs true for Clarke as well, who is listed at just 5-foot-9, 141 pounds.

Despite the bounty of upside within Clarke’s game, OHL teams would likely feel a greater sense of comfort in selecting him if could display greater strength at this age, especially as a defenceman. Clarke could use the strength to close gaps with greater consistency, as well as to separate opponents from the puck with his body, specifically if he hopes to thrive against larger competition in the OHL next year.

Future Potential:

Brandt Clarke has shown the greatest upside among all 2019 OHL Draft eligible defencemen thus far. An exceptional skater with impressive hockey intelligence, Clarke possesses all the intangibles to succeed at the next level and beyond.

At this time, Clarke projects to be a sure-fire top-10 pick at next year’s Priority Selection, with a strong chance to crack the top-5 if he can show consistency in his game and prove that he can stand up against the riggers of larger opposition.

Featured photo courtesy of Max Lewis.
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