Clarke is one of several OHL players who were without a place to play in the 2021 season. Fortunately, he was loaned overseas to the Slovakian League but noted it was a significant adjustment going from playing against guys who were as old or younger than he was to playing against grown men.
“Yeah, it’s been a change,” Clarke commented in an interview earlier this year. “My first couple of games, I was shocked at how fast it was, how strong they were. But considering they were all in midseason form, it was definitely an adjustment. It’s a good league for sure, a lot of talent. It’s definitely been different from the OHL.”
At the end of that interview, Clarke noted that he was already playing on the top defensive pairing, so there’s obviously a level of trust from his coaches that the responsibilities aren’t too much for the 18-year-old.
As alluded to in the scouting report, you watch Clarke on film, and he is a dynamic defenseman, who possesses the ability to carry the puck through all three zones. What stood out to me most on his game film was his skill set to take the puck all the way to the net.
Clarke will play for Team Canada in the U18 World Juniors, with play opening against Sweden on Tuesday, April 27.