The son of the Maple Leafs legend, Wendel, Kody Clark checks in as the 77th ranked prospect in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft after a promising sophomore season in the OHL.
Clark is one of the most skilled players of this draft class with the puck on his stick but there are some areas of the game that he will need to improve in order to make hay in the professional ranks.
Born in Toronto, but playing his junior career in the nation’s capital, let’s break down the game of Kody Clark.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.93/ October 13, 1999
- Birthplace: Toronto, ON, CAN
- Frame:6-foot-1/ 176 lbs
- Position: Right Wing
- Handedness: Right
- Draft Year Team: Ottawa 67’s(OHL)
- GTMMHL Scotiabank Playoff Champion
- OHL Cup Champion
- CISAA Champion
Clark was selected in the 6th round of the OHL Priority Selection draft in 2015. He was able to secure a spot with the 67’s for the 2016-17 season and although he didn’t blow the doors off with his offensive production, being a consistent member of an OHL team during your 17-year-old season is still a good thing.
He came into this season looking to be leaned on more offensively and did so by getting his point total up to 39 points.
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His GF% and GF%REL are encouraging given that the 67’s are in a bit of a rebuilding phase and look to be making an upward trajectory from there. There is some concern that his offence and ice time (which is highlighted below) fell off a cliff to close out the campaign. Clark did suffer an injury prior to the Top Prospects game and was unable to participate and I’m curious if there was some sort of ailment that was affecting him to finish off his draft year.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
The above graph is interesting to see as his production per 60 and GF% were above the majority of all his most common teammates. He made things happen on the ice whenever he was out there and did it better than his teammates.
As we see with a player like Clark, it’s a lot of matches with a wide spread of players with varying ceilings and point production rates in the NHL. It can be hard to point to what Clark will be if he makes the NHL, but the 14.7% success rate is a decent number for a player pegged to be a third-round selection by many.
The son of Wendel Clark, Kody is a skilled winger who plays nothing like his gritty father did.
Kody is a skilled forward who is quick with puck movements, stick-handling and feet. He can dance around defenders, get a couple of strides of space and then undress the goalie. If the puck is loose near the net, he is quick to find it and try to make things happen. Sometimes he may try to do too much and make too many moves, which allows his opponent to just stop him with their body or by allowing Clark to put himself into low danger areas.
The Toronto born winger is primarily known as a play-maker but does display a willingness to take shots averaging 2.29 shots per game. He doesn’t have a strong shot but has a quick release that can be deceptive when in tight.
His defensive game remains a work in progress as he is decent when his team is set up in their own zone, using his strengths to ensure opponents stay to the outside and don’t engage the high danger locations. But he isn’t quick on the back-check or the backside pressure to force his opponents to make plays.
There is no denying the skill that Clark has with the puck. I think he is really smart and crafty when he has the biscuit but those concerns about backside pressure are there. He can sometimes slip into the background for periods of time and then does some really skilled play that leaves you with a sense of wow. In order for him to set himself apart, he will need to bring it on a more consistent basis in all three zones.
Clark should build on his offensive production next season with the 67’s and should see an uptick in offence as they hope to continue their upward trajectory. Clark will be a project but his skill with the puck is undeniable and given that he is already 6’1″ and 175 lbs, a team may want to take on that project with the notion that patience may be needed for him at the AHL level after he plays another year or two in the OHL.
Don’t think he can carve out a career as a fourth line player but more aligns as a third line energy guy with skill but we’d need to see more production at the OHL level before we confidently say he will end up there.
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Son of Maple leaf legend, Wendel, doesn’t have much lateral agility and is a basic physical grind it out big hitting winger with an edge. Moves North-South with a powerful stride with good lean and is very aggressive on the forecheck. Works hard as a guy who plays between the paint looking to disrupt and snap rebounds. Possesses a good wrist shot, plays strong on the puck. Works hard, but only has 18 goals and 39 points to show on his resume. A long-term developmental player who needs more to his game.
CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings