2018-19 Team: Ottawa 67’s
Date of Birth: April 24, 2001
Place of Birth: Ottawa, ON
Ht: 6-foot-0 Wt: 174 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 45th (among North American skaters)
- Future Considerations: 110th
- TSN/McKenzie: 61st
Graeme Clarke made a name for himself playing alongside Jack Hughes in 2016-17, racking up 82 goals in 81 games before being selected sixth overall by the Ottawa 67’s in the 2017 OHL Draft. With Ottawa laden with veteran OHL players, Clarke began his rookie OHL season in a bottom-six role.
Despite a slow start to his OHL career, Clarke was selected to play for Canada White in the 2017 World U-17 Hockey Challenge. The result was disappointing, with his squad losing in the bronze medal game, but Clarke impressed with two goals and six points in six games.
Over the remainder of his rookie season, Clarke continued to show flashes of potential though he was held back from key offensive opportunities and power play minutes. Ottawa’s season came to a disappointing end, as the 67’s fell in the first round in five games to the eventual OHL Champion Hamilton Bulldogs. Despite the loss, Clarke wrapped up a solid rookie season with 14 goals and 25 points, placing him inside the top ten in scoring for all OHL rookies.
Heading into his second season, Clarke made adjustments in the offseason to improve his explosiveness and skating stride, and his hard work was rewarded with a selection to Canada’s team for the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Playing in a mostly supporting role, Clarke managed two goals and three points as Canada captured the gold medal over Team Sweden.
Clarke carried over some of that momentum into his sophomore OHL season, as he managed to tally 10 goals in his first 22 games and helped the 67’s race out to first place in the league before he was knocked out of the lineup in early November with a shoulder injury. While he was sidelined, the 67’s continued rolling, aided by big trade acquisitions, Michael DiPietro and Kyle Maksimovich. Upon his return, Clarke was again pushed down the lineup as the juggernaut 67’s rolled to the Hamilton Spectator Award as the OHL’s regular season champions.
While Clarke’s sophomore season was interrupted by an injury, he still managed to notch 23 goals and has been one of the 67’s most important players in the playoffs as they swept their way to an appearance in the OHL Final. It’s tough to tell how much better Clarke’s season could’ve been if not for an unfortunate injury, but he performed well on the big stage several times this season and could be a late bloomer as he graduates to a key role with Ottawa next season.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Graeme Clarke – NHL Draft Projection
Graeme Clarke played a mostly supporting role on a stacked Ottawa team this season, not receiving prime offensive opportunities or regular minutes on a scoring line. However, he showed off his great puck-handling abilities throughout the season and still managed to chip in 23 goals. With a larger role next season and continued improvement on his foot speed and agility, Clarke could be a great value pick somewhere in the third or fourth rounds of the draft.
Clarke has superb puck handling ability… What he lacks is a separation gear, but skating is an area he has worked on hard and will continue to work on and improve. While he is a goal scorer first, he has excellent vision and can slow the play down with possession to give his teammates time to find space and deliver a good pass on the forehand and backhand… My opinion is that he is such an intelligent player that he is able to slip into seams and high scoring areas without expending a lot of energy. And once he gets there, he is able to fire off a lethal shot.” – Dominic Tiano, OHL Writers
“Boy, does Clarke have a scintillating set of hands. The 2019 draft prospect has teed off on the Hamilton Bulldogs in two opening series victories, netting five goals for the powerhouse 67’s. His work around the net is very creative and impressive and it looks as though he’s just getting started.” – Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News
“Clarke’s point totals won’t blow you away, but he’s creating plenty of offence in a secondary scoring role. Clarke’s 12 5v5 goals ranked second to only Tomasino among draft eligible OHLers, ahead of Kaliyev and McMichael, once adjusting to per 60 minutes. He’s a creative player, owning the ability to beat defenders in a number of ways before firing off his dangerous wrist shot. However, Clarke can disappear for stretches and lacks separation speed.” – Mitch Brown, The Athletic
- Wrist shot
- Offensive awareness
- Puckhandling ability
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Aggressiveness on offense
- Defensive consistency
- Defensive zone awareness
- Strength in corners
Clarke hasn’t quite had the opportunity to fully showcase his talent playing for a stacked Ottawa team, but his wrist shot and ability to find open space on offense are developed well beyond his age. However, he must learn to become more consistent game-to-game and continue to develop his skating stride if he wants to grow into a role as a middle-six scoring winger at the professional level.
Risk – 3/5 | Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 7.5/10 | Defence – 5/10
Clarke has participated in international tournaments, playing for Canada White at the 2017 World U-17 Championship and capturing a gold medal at last year’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He was also selected to the 2019 CHL Top Prospects Game, where he was named Team Orr’s Player of the Game after tallying a highlight reel goal and an assist on the game-winning goal.
Joseph Aleong is an At-Large writer for THW from Toronto, Ontario. He is a graduate of Brock University in St. Catharines, ON. Follow him on Twitter @josephaleong11