2022-23 Team: Färjestad BK J20
Date of Birth: Jan. 13, 2005
Place of Birth: Brunico, ITA
Height: 6-foot-6, Weight: 207 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2023 first-year eligible
At 6-foot-6, 207 pounds, it is hard to miss Damian Clara. The Italian goaltender has been sneaking up the draft rankings all season and now heads into the draft after a successful season at both the club and country levels. If he does hear his name called, he will be the first player from Italy to be drafted into the NHL.
As a bigger goaltender, Clara is excellent at covering both the bottom and top of the net at once. When he goes down in his stance, he is able to block wrap-around attempts thanks to his long legs while also keeping his shoulders high, covering the corners of the net. He is also able to track the puck well, which allows him to stay in position and react to one-timers he may face.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
Latest News & Highlights
Clara was able to show off why he is the future of Italian goaltending this year at both the U18, U20, and World Championship levels. He was named the Best Goaltender at both the U18 D1B and U20 D1B tournaments while winning both his games at the World Championship D1A tournament, picking up a bronze medal at each. If Italy is going to make it back to the top group at the World Championship, odds are he will be the man to lead them as he continually steps up when his country needs him most.
Overall, Clara has a lot of potential but still has areas he needs to work on. He is not the best skater, which means he is slower to react when facing breakaways and overuses his body which leads to an increase in rebounds. Set to play in the HockeyAllsvenskan next season; he has plenty of time to work on these traits before making the move to North America.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Damian Clara – NHL Draft Projection
Trying to predict where goaltenders are going to be drafted is extremely difficult. In most cases, it comes down to which one the team’s head of goaltending likes which is never an exact science. If Clara is going to be drafted, expect it to be in the sixth or seventh round.
“At 6-foot-6, Clara uses his size to his advantage, and scouts think teams will take a chance on him for his size alone. Plus, goaltenders from smaller hockey countries typically spend their whole career trying to scratch and claw their way onto pro team’s radars.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
“Clara has impressive height and, as a result, favors a butterfly style and relies on using his size to defend the net and turn away shots. He plays deep in his crease, has great reach with both his arms and legs and, while he lacks quickness going post-to-post, he does show a high degree of patience, making him a formidable obstacle for the shooter to confront.” – Shaun Richardson, FC Hockey
- Using his size
- Covering up the bottom of the net
- Blocker hand
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Rebound control
- Glove hand
If Clara can continue his development, there is definitely a path to the NHL for him. He has already shown he can have success against older competition and will be given a great opportunity next season as he continues to climb the ranks in Sweden. While it may take a while for him to reach his potential, once he makes it to the NHL, he could be a force.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 2/5
Achievements & Awards
- 2020-21 ICEYSL Champion
- 2021-22 U18 WJC (D1B) Bronze Medal
- 2021-22 U20 WJC (D2A) Best Goaltender
- 2021-22 U20 WJC (D2A) Gold Medal
- 2022-23 U18 WJC (D1B) Best GAA (1.25)
- 2022-23 U18 WJC (D1B) Best Goaltender
- 2022-23 U18 WJC (D1B) Best SVS% (.954)
- 2022-23 U18 WJC (D1B) Bronze Medal
- 2022-23 U20 WJC (D1B) Best Goaltender
- 2022-23 U20 WJC (D1B) Best SVS% (.917)
- 2022-23 U20 WJC (D1B) Bronze Medal
- 2022-23 U20 WJC (D1B) Top Player on Team
- 2022-23 World Championship (D1A) Bronze Medal