Kings sign top draft pick defenseman Clarke

NHL

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — The Los Angeles Kings have signed top draft pick Brandt Clarke to a three-year, $2.775 million entry-level contract.

Clarke agreed to the deal Tuesday after the Kings chose the defenseman with the eighth overall pick last month.

The 18-year-old Clarke is expected to play most of next season in the Ontario Hockey League, where he racked up 38 points in 57 games as a rookie with Barrie in the 2019-20 season. He led all OHL rookie defensemen in points and assists (32), and he finished second with six goals.

Clarke spent last season in Slovakia with HC Nové Zámky, scoring 15 points in 26 games after the OHL season was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Clarke is a key component of the Kings’ impressive stable of elite young talent headlined by center Quinton Byfield, the No. 2 overall pick in 2020. Los Angeles’ prospect group also includes center Alex Turcotte, defenseman Tobias Björnfot, center Rasmus Kupari and left wing Arthur Kaliyev.

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