Coming off of his gold medal win with Team Canada at the 2023 World Junior Championships earlier this week, Mayor’s Manor has learned that the LA Kings will be assigning defenseman Brandt Clarke to Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League for the balance of the season.
This news confirms a report MM editor John Hoven shared on Bally Sports television in late December.
After getting into a handful of NHL games in October, Kings management were said to be leaning toward keeping Clarke in the NHL for the balance of the season — and largely putting him on a Noah Dobson-type rotation, where he would be targeted to play in about half the games.
Following Clarke’s ninth game played on November 1 vs. the Dallas Stars, he was in limbo for a few weeks before being assigned to AHL Ontario — where he did a two-week conditioning assignment and scored his first professional goal.
Then, in seven games at the just-completed World Juniors, the 19-year-old defenseman had 8 points (2G, 6A) and was a plus-5. Known primarily as an offensive-minded player, Clarke made a key defensive play that set up Canada’s game winning goal in the final game.
With careful consideration and after weighing all of their options, it was decided that returning Clarke to the OHL would be best for his development at this point. The organization is already struggling with ways to find enough NHL playing time for prospects Toby Björnfot, Jacob Moverare, and Jordan Spence. Making this move now ensures Clarke will play top minutes for the balance of the season.
He’ll now join a Barrie Colts team that is only one point back of third place in the OHL’s Eastern Conference and has gone 7-2-0-1 over their last 10 games. In two seasons with the Colts, Clarke has put up a total of 97 points in 112 regular season games.
The Colts are also said to be one of the lead contenders looking to trade for Seattle Kraken prospect Shane Wright, who was also assigned to the OHL following Team Canada’s gold medal victory.
Lead photo via IIHF / Team Canada
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