April 14, 2021

Spotlight: Brandt Clarke

Spotlight is a feature highlighting NHL Draft eligibles and giving a peek into what makes them an intriguing prospect ahead of the 2021 NHL Draft. This edition features Barrie Colts/Nove Zamky defenseman Brandt Clarke.

  • Date of Birth: February 9, 2003
  • Position: RD
  • Team: HC Nove Zamky (SVK) & Barrie Colts (OHL)
  • Height: Six-foot-one
  • Weight: 181 pounds
  • Shoots: Right

Playing overseas in Slovakia

Clarke is playing his draft year out in Slovakia with Nove Zamky right now with the OHL still not started up. He originally headed overseas with his older brother Graeme Clarke, who was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 2019. Although Graeme would eventually return to North America to play in the AHL, Brandt has remained overseas and flourished with his new team. Clarke currently has 15 points in 25 games as a defenseman playing professional hockey. 


Named to Canada’s U-18 team

Clarke was one of eight defensemen named to Canada’s World Under 18 team by Hockey Canada. With the tournament set to kick off in Texas later this month, Clarke will play a big role on Canada’s blue line and could potentially wear a letter as well. Clarke has represented Canada well in the past – he racked up six points in five games with Canada Black at the 2019 U-17s. 

Could go first overall in 2021

There is still no consensus first overall pick for 2021, but Clarke is as good a candidate as there is. Clarke has emerged as the top defenseman among the 2021 class and there is a very strong chance that an NHL team will take him first overall. Aside from playing a very coveted position (right defense), Clarke is an extremely intelligent blueliner who can both rush the puck up the ice and stay back to defend. 

What the experts say

“Clarke had a decent showing against Trencin, as he did not look out of place playing in Slovakia’s top league. Suiting up on a pairing with Markus Vastila, Clarke had a slow start but improved as the game went on. Offensively, Clarke’s skating ability and confidence with the puck really stood out… Clarke is going to take some time to get back to game shape as this is only his second game since being loaned but he definitely has shown promise early on.” – FCHockey scout Mat Sheridan


“Clarke appears to have wasted no time adjusting to the culture shock of playing hockey in Slovakia’s pro league, because he was buzzing and looked good in this one. He plays with so much jump that he could appear any place on the ice at a moment’s notice. His legs seem to never stop moving… Clarke has the most offensive upside of any defender in this draft and will likely continue to garner serious discussion as the top pick in 2021.” – FCHockey scout Derek Neumeier

“Clarke is playing in Slovakia currently, on loan from the Barrie Colts while the OHL season is on pause. He has stepped into the low-tier pro league with aplomb, showing trademark poise with the puck and a more conceited effort to use his physicality to his advantage against men… Clarke’s acceleration and overall strength in puck battles is still a long way from the top levels, but he has the brain and puck skills to eventually contribute as an all-situations defender in the NHL.” – FCHockey scout Joseph Aleong 

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