It has been an important year for the Kings in the first round of selection in 2021.
Brandt Clark began his 2021–22 season on a down note, as a bout with mononucleosis cost him both the 2021 rookie faceoff as well as attending NHL training camp. Back in the OHL, Clark was named team captain in the middle of the season as an 18-year-old for the Barry Colts, an honor that does not entail a play with three seasons of junior eligibility.
Clarke called positivity a big part of his leadership style as a captain, something that is a vital part of the team’s success and something that begins before the game and continues through it. Clark’s positivity was probably tested in December when, despite being considered close to the lock by outside outlets at the time, she was not selected to represent Team Canada at the World Junior Championships.
The snub didn’t stop Clarke’s success on the ice, however, as he scored more than a point-per-game pace in the OHL, giving his team a total of 59 points in the process. His second half was not without setbacks, with an eight-game suspension in March and a final season-ending, lower-body injury in April, allowing him to take part in the postseason.
Through it all, however, Clarke had an impressive first season as a member of the Kings organization and believes he has progressed in completing his overall game since he was replaced by the Kings a year earlier. Overall the eighth was chosen.
“I think a lot of people were talking about my offensive abilities when I was drafted and I’m not saying I let them go – I still feel like I’m still in that position. I am getting better – but my coach at Barry really got respect in my defensive game, they wanted me to play against the top guys in the league,” Clarke explained. [also] What people in LA were telling me, they wanted to see how I handle myself in situations like this, against the top guys in the OHL and I really hung up, I think I excelled.
Clark’s path led him to the development camp of the LA Kings, with the opportunity to showcase that overall play against others within the organization’s potential pool.
A development camp certainly offers a wider range of talent than what Clark will face in the OHL this season. With players from NHL games in the camp, as well as players who had just been drafted and were still several years away from professional ranks, there was an opportunity for Clark to measure up not only against some of the higher-caliber players, but also against his own. There was an opportunity to apply the style. Also play in scrimmage settings.
“The intensity is really high, everybody was trying to make their mark and that’s what you want,” Clark said of the camp. “You want high intensity, you want to bring your best and that’s what I was trying to do. I’m trying to show myself, but at the same time, you know, just be a good teammate around the dressing room and be a nicer person than the snow.
Development camp, after all, is as much about progress and rest from the snow as it is about performance on it.
Clarke certainly drew attention to those with NHL experience in the camp, primarily the pairing of Tobias Björnfot and Jordan Spence at the Blueline. Both players were regulars for the Kings in the previous season, Björnft played 70 regular-season games and Spence contributed in the stretch and in the first-round series against Edmonton.
The opportunity for Clark to not only test himself against talent of that level, but also to learn from the way he carried himself further and out there, was a great achievement for Clark.
“They’re bringing up the intensity, they’re not taking days off, they’re making every single skate hard, every single workout. It’s impressive,” he said. “If you want to play at the top level then you have this mindset and that is why they are stuck. So they will have successful career and that’s just what I want to inculcate in myself, this is the kind of attitude I want to have 365 days a year. ,
As he progressed, Clark’s next stop after development camp was Hockey Canada’s summer showcase event, which featured candidates for both the 2022 and 2023 World Junior Championships, as well as the top Canadians participating at the under-18 level. brought together.
Not being selected for the original 2022 tournament is on Clarke’s mind, in a building, together with the best and brightest on the ice, but his focus when going to camp was very simple – play his game.
“There’s always that thing that comes back to your mind, you want to prove people wrong, but I don’t want to waver,” he said. “I’m just going to play my game. It’s made me successful in the past… so I’ll just stick to my game plan, do what I do and hopefully put a smile on their face, I guess.” that you can say.”
— Russell Morgan (@NHLRussell) 27 July 2022
You could say that during the recent clash between Clark’s Team Red and the Under-18 selected team, his game brought smiles to some faces. After setting up a pair of power-play goals with a high-threat pass, Clarke caught the zone at left point, missed a man as he worked his way toward the net and clinched the game-winning goal. took.
It was a sequence and it came in a summer scrimmage game against players younger than him. That reference is needed. But it also offered a glimpse of some of the traits that made Clarke special, namely his hockey savvy in the offensive field, his play vision to create an odd-man opportunity for others, and the skill with the puck that was a defenseman. are rare for. They are great things, regardless of context and he showcased them well.
Assuming Hockey Canada doesn’t change its mind about the tournament taking place in August, the next Test for Clarke will come with a lot of tough competition, when the Kings hit the ice for training camp in September.
Clarke is a wild card when it comes to the NHL roster and his 19-year-old entering the season is such that he is eligible for the NHL or OHL and not the AHL. With a plethora of right-handed defensemen, there’s certainly no guarantee for a player in that position, but that won’t stop him from believing in himself to thrive in that position. How it pans out against the highest levels of competition will be known in six weeks’ time.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what I’m like in those exhibition games against the top NHL players,” he said. “It will be interesting, but I feel confident in myself. I have some summer skates in Ottawa, with some of the top pro guys in the NHL and I hang in there, I can still play my game, my creative Shelly, so, I believe in myself. I think I’m ready to go.”