4:01 pm: The Kings have made the move official, announcing Clarke’s loan to the OHL Friday afternoon. In a corresponding transaction, the team also placed forward Trevor Moore on injured reserve after he’d missed the past four games with an upper-body injury. He is still listed as day-to-day and could return at any time.
3:35 pm: Per reports this afternoon from John Hoven at Mayor’s Manor and Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek, the Los Angeles Kings are expected to loan top defense prospect Brandt Clarke back to the OHL’s Barrie Colts.
Clarke is coming off a gold-medal-winning performance at the 2023 World Junior Championships with Team Canada. The eighth overall pick in the 2021 draft led Canadian defensemen with two goals and eight points in seven games.
His professional action this season had been somewhat limited, although a strong training camp permitted him to crack the Kings’ opening night roster. He’d played just 14 games this season aside from the World Juniors, including nine in Los Angeles and five in the AHL with the Ontario Reign on a conditioning stint.
Los Angeles keeping Clarke to under 10 games played in the NHL this season allows them to slide the beginning of his entry-level contract until 2023-24. This is the second and final season Los Angeles can slide Clarke’s contract, which they signed in August of 2021.
Clarke is an absolutely huge get for Barrie, as their former captain notched 59 points in 55 games in 2021-22. With Clarke’s return, an already strong team will get even stronger, and they may not even be done yet. The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler named the Colts as a potential destination for Shane Wright, who was also returned to the OHL today and will inevitably be traded by the Kingston Frontenacs before Tuesday’s OHL trade deadline to a more competitive team.
2023 will be an important step for Clarke’s development, as the Kings hope their top defense prospect develops into a natural successor on the right side behind Drew Doughty as he ages out of the league.
Finally! A good and obvious decision to not burn the 1st year on his ELC!