Kale Clague comes in at #36 on the Nation Network’s top 60 2016 draft eligible prospects. Playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings, Clague is hailed as a two-way defenseman with a high level of skill and good ability to skate.
Let’s take a look at what he brings to the table.
- Age: 17, 1998-06-05
- Birthplace: Regina, SK, CAN
- Frame: 6’0″ 179 lbs.
- Position: D
- Handedness: L
- Draft Year Team: Brandon Wheat Kings
- Accomplishments/Awards: 2015/16 CHL Top Prospects Game, 2015/16 Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal
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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.
A very smart, effective two-way blueliner. Uses his offensive instincts and hockey sense coupled with his elite skating and vision to create numerous offensive chances. He shows patience with the puck and poise beyond his years. Defensively, his positioning is solid and he gets himself into shooting lanes. Willing to play physical at times and is strong in the transition game.
“Clague is possibly the most purely talented defenseman I have seen come down the pipe in the last few years,” said Future Considerations scout Zenon Herasymiuk. “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.”
It sounds like Kale Clague has the potential to be a pretty good defenseman. The fact scouts are already praising his skating ability is very good. The inability to keep up speed wise in the NHL is one of the reasons why many prospects do not reach the NHL level.
What is concerning is Clague’s durability. He was limited to 20 games in his rookie season because of a broken wrist and other minor injuries. This is not necessarily the norm, but where there is smoke, there is fire.
Clague’s sophomore season with the Wheat Kings saw him score 6 goals and 37 assists over 71 games. That is a .605 points per game pace, which is alright for a junior defenseman.
From a pure numbers standpoint, the PGPS does not support a likelihood of Clague graduating to the NHL. Clague has 19 statistical matches that made the NHL in a regular capacity (playing 200 games). His percentage of making the NHL as determined by the PGPS is 29.64%.
However, he has the praise of scouts and the knock is not his skill, skating ability, or how he reads plays. It is Clague’s durability. Durability can be worked with through training and taking care of his body.
Clague is ranked right where his skill and play have dictated. Clague has work to do to make the NHL, but it is possible and he should hear his name called in the early to mid second round of the draft.