On Friday, the LA Kings drafted defenseman Brandt Clarke. But, the prospect does not want to be compared to Drew Doughty.
After a fair bit of speculation on how they would spend the No. 8 pick in the first round of the 2021 Draft, the LA Kings responded by selecting defenseman Brandt Clarke. The selection, however, marks just the first time that the LA Kings selected a defenseman in the Top 10 since 2008 when they selected a blue-chipper by the name of Drew Doughty at No. 2 overall. So, with that in mind, the newest King was immediately linked to Doughty as far as comparisons go.
In addition to similar draft order, though, Clarke, like Doughty, is 6-foot-2 and a right-shooting blueliner. However, while he does admire the 2016 Norris Trophy winner, the former Nepean Raider admitted that he’d rather not be compared to the Kings veteran blueliner. On Friday night, the newest member of the Kings family spoke to the media via Zoom about this.
“I don’t know,” Clarke admitted. “Drew is one of those complete players in the NHL — played many seasons, a multiple Stanley Cup champion — and I’m not an established person yet. I don’t want to say– I don’t want to have those expectations. He’s a Hall-of-Famer, and I have the most respect for that guy.”
Honest in his take on the subject, the 18-year-old would rather let his transition to the NHL determine his future, whenever that will be. But, with only 57 major-junior games under his belt, it is likely that Clarke will be returning to Barrie next season, although that is unconfirmed at this juncture. Still, the youngster is hoping for an organic transition to the pros while hoping to keep comparisons to a minimum.
“I don’t like when people jump the gun and say huge comparisons and say that they’re going to be NHL legends. That’s not realistic,” added Clarke. “But, I have the utmost respect for him, I hope that I can learn from him, but it’s just going to be really cool to watch that guy because I’ve watched him for so many years. I do like to model my game after him.”
For the Kings’ newest prospect, with all due respect, he’d rather be the first Brandt Clarke instead of the next Drew Doughty.
“He does a lot of special things out there, but I’m not going to say that I’m Drew Doughty,” the Ottawa native concluded.
His tenure with the Kings may be less than 24 hours old, but there is plenty of anticipation and excitement for Brandt Clarke in terms of what he can offer his new NHL club. How soon he’s with the big club — and how soon he’ll be playing with Drew Doughty — remains to be seen. Of course, there’s plenty of reason to be excited regardless. But, we have a good idea of what makes Brandt Clarke tick already — and the signs are good thus far.