NHL 2016 Draft Radar: Kale Clague

As a defender on the Brandon Wheat Kings it is very easy to get lost in the mix and be the odd man out. That isn’t the case for Kale Clague, an offensively focused player that should intrigue some teams this draft year. Did Clague make enough of an impact to warrant a first round selection? Is Clague just riding the Wheat Kings wave to a higher draft spot?

Clague was the 27th ranked North American skater in the NHL Central scouting rankings.

The Stats

After an impressive first year in the league, Clague had a pretty darn good draft year hitting just over half a point per game. What became even more impressive was the playoff round he had matching his goal total from the regular season. Clague is on an upward swing and could be the centerpiece for the Wheat Kings defense as soon as next year. His developmental path looks to be in good hands.

The Eye Test

Zenon Herasymiuk of Future Considerations had a sterling scouting report on Clague back in October:

“Clague is possibly the most purely talented defenseman I have seen come down the pipe in the last few years. He has soft hands and a powerful stride which he uses to dynamically transition the puck and create offense for his team. He has a big, booming shot, poise and an electric skill set which make him difficult to contain when he has space and a threat to create offense at all times. He has the potential to be one of the top defenseman in the entire draft class.”

Curtis Joe had this to say about Clague back in 2015 for Elite Prospects:

“An offensive defenseman in nature, Clague is a tantalizing blend of speed, cunning, and craftiness. Very smooth skater that is mobile at a professional level. Great vision and is able to control plays with the puck on his stick. Creative passer. Will need to work on his shot and consistency moving forward, but has the undeniable raw skills and fundamental attributes of a puck-moving offensive defenseman. All-in-all, a highly skilled defenseman that has the potential to be a proficient producer from the back end.”

I spoke to my scout friend, Jeremy Crowe, who does scouting for Buckeye State Hockey and NHL Numbers and he had this to say about Clague:

“He was 12th in CHL first time draft eligible defenders in 5v5 scoring this year. Pretty darn young too. High upside.”

Does he fit in with the Red Wings?

As the league begins to shift what they are looking for in certain players, the mobile, puck moving defender has become en vogue. Clague fits the mold and can be a good player if his development continues the way it has before. The Red Wings would have to trade down if they were to select him. It would be a bit of a reach from the current draft spot. Clague is rising quickly though, I doubt a risk averse organization would pull the trigger on a player like him.

Player Oddity

At the tender age of fifteen, he was chirping Paul Bissonette on Twitter. Pretty confident for such a young guy.