Kings’ prospect Brandt Clarke is an NHL-ready player playing in the OHL

In January of this year, Los Angeles Kings’ top prospect Brandt Clarke was reassigned to the Barrie Colts because according to a Mayor’s Manor report the Kings were having a hard time finding playing time for several defenseman prospects, including Tobias Bjornfot and Jordan Spence.

The reason he was still eligible to go back to the OHL is because of the CHL-NHL agreement that allowed Clarke to return to the OHL after playing in the maximum amount of NHL games he could: nine games. Once those nine games were up, the Kings either had to send him back down to Barrie or decide to keep him on the roster.

Although, if Los Angeles kept the former 2021 first-round pick past nine games, then his entry-level contract would have kicked in. In order to prevent that, the Kings wisely sent him back down to the Colts, instead of burning up his entry-level contract with limited playing time on NHL ice.

Here is a summary of this rule:

“Juniors-eligible players may still play up to nine games in the NHL at the beginning of a season as a trial. After nine games, the NHL team can return the player to juniors with no effect on his contract. If a player is kept beyond nine games, his entry-level contract kicks in. If an NHL team keeps a player beyond nine games and later decides to return him to juniors, it can do so, but that still burns his entry-level contract. If a player is returned to juniors, he can’t return to the NHL team until his junior team’s season ends.”

Per this rule, Brandt Clarke is ineligible to return to the Kings until his season with the Colts ends. Barrie’s regular season ended on March 25th with a loss to the Ottawa 67’s, 5-1. On March 30th, the Colts began their playoffs with a 10-2 throttling of the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Heading into the postseason, there was one name above all the rest in the entire Ontario Hockey League, and that name was Brandt Clarke.

He closed out the month of March as both the OHL Player of the Month and the OHL Defenseman of the Month after a stellar 11 goals and 11 assists in just nine games played. His ability to affect both sides of the ice is incredibly impressive.

And he only expounded upon on those red-hot regular season performances with an otherworldly performance in the first game of the playoffs against Hamilton. In the 10-2 win, Clarke had two goals, four assists, and was named the First Star of the Game. And one of those goals was a flying lacrosse goal.

Six points for the March Player of the Month and a lacrosse goal to boot. I think it’s safe to say Clarke is ready for the NHL and will undoubtedly play at the NHL level next season.

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