Whoa, early 2021 mock draft has LA Kings grabbing top defenseman

(Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images) /

If this mock draft holds, the LA Kings would have top-five picks in three consecutive years, taking Brandt Clarke here.

There are two ways to view this mock draft. The LA Kings will be terrible again in 2020-2021, but they’ll have a top-five pick via the lottery. It would mark the third time in as many years for such an occurrence, taking Alex Turcotte and Quinton Byfield in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The 2021 NHL Draft is much deeper in terms of top-tier defensemen, in which the Kings organization lacks a blue-chip prospect along the blueline. Sure, they have Tobias Bjornfot, Mikey Anderson, and Helge Grans, but none of those guys were ever projected to be taken within the top five of their respective drafts.

Aatu Räty is 2021’s version of Alexis Lafreniere in that he’s believed to be the consensus number one pick. But early mock drafts vary with who will follow Räty. As the 2020-2021 season plays out, perhaps a clear number two and number three will emerge.

Again, it’s way too early, but the LA Kings take Brandt Clarke with the fifth overall pick.

Taken fourth overall in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection Draft, Clarke racked up the accolades in his first season with the Barrie Colts. The Ottawa, Ontario native was named to the OHL’s First All-Rookie Team and led all rookies by a wide margin in assists.


Being 17 years old and standing at 6-foot-1, 181 pounds, Clarke already has great size for a future NHL defenseman on a franchise’s top pairing. He’s a right-handed shot and displays phenomenal puckhandling skills.

Clarke is so good at creating his own shot, combined with excellent trailing and forward vision. His assists speak for themselves, and he’s so good at getting others involved. He played with Tyson Foerster last year and was often overshadowed by the point production of the Flyers’ 23rd overall pick in 2020.

Leading rushes or providing support, Clarke is a major asset in the offensive zone. He features a wicked snipe from the blueline and played on both of Barrie’s special teams’ units. He chipped in a short-handed goal and nine assists on the man advantage.

Once the OHL gets going this year, he’ll need to improve his play in the defensive zone, as his offensive game is well ahead of his defense.

Next. Hoffman on a one-year deal makes sense. dark

"“He’s got no fear with the puck,” Miller said. “We were in Sudbury and he lugged pucks and found guys, and created a lot. You’re seeing these big forwards coming at him and he doesn’t care. He makes sure he protects it pretty well and he reads when he can go.” – Barrie Today"

He reminds me a lot of Roman Josi.