Brandt Clarke earns spot on AHL Top Prospects Team

It’s been almost a month since Brandt Clarke played his last playoff game of the season with the Ontario Reign, but the 21-year-old blueliner is still collecting awards.

Clarke was named to the American Hockey League’s Top Prospects Team on Thursday, as determined by the AHL’s hockey operations department in conjunction with league general managers.

This is the second consecutive season that the league has acknowledged their top players under 22 years of age who have played at least 36 regular season games in the AHL and less than 30 NHL contests.

After already being named to the league’s Second All-Star Team and the All-Rookie Team in April, the honor is Clarke’s third end-of-season award from the AHL. He was also chosen for the All-Star Classic in January and honored as the league’s Rookie of the Month last December.

Clarke’s AHL dominance this season has already been well-documented, so it’s not surprising to see him once again recognized for his accomplishments with the Reign this season. In 50 regular season games, he led all AHL rookies with 36 assists and tied for fourth among all league defensemen in scoring.

His 46 points are the most in a single season by a Reign defenseman in the team’s nine-year AHL history, beating out Jordan Spence by a single point, who set the high-mark a year ago with 45 in 56 appearances.

Clarke also showed up for Ontario when it mattered in the postseason, earning six assists in the team’s eight Calder Cup Playoff games while logging a heavy load of ice time.

The former eighth overall pick was certainly one of the highest draft selections playing in the AHL this season, but rest of the Top Prospects Team honorees included other standout selections as well. Clarke’s defensive counterpart was Simon Edvinsson, who was selected two spots ahead of him by Detroit in 2021. Shane Wright, Seattle’s fourth overall pick in 2022, represented the forwards along with Dallas’ Logan Stankoven, who was leading AHL in scoring before making his mark on the Stars with 14 points down the stretch before appearing in 19 NHL playoff games. Nashville’s potential goaltender of the future, Yaroslav Askarov, a No. 11 overall selection in 2020, was also selected in net after winning 30 games for Milwaukee and posting a 2.39 goals-against average.

The next challenge for the young defender will be making the opening night roster with the Kings in October, but it’s certainly expected that he’ll receive lots of opportunity to showcase himself during the team’s upcoming training camp, as he has in each of the last two years.

Olson Signs On With Ontario for 2024-25
The Reign added to their roster for next season on Friday, announcing an agreement with forward Quinn Olson on an AHL contract. Olson become the third forward signed for the upcoming season with Ontario, joining high-scoring Charles Hudon and a veteran physical presence in Jacob Doty.

Olson will be a 23-year-old rookie when the year gets going in October, after playing five seasons in the NCAA at Minnesota-Duluth. The Kings have had recent success with former Bulldogs who have gone on to make a significant impact at the pro level with Mikey Anderson and Alex Iafallo, and although he’s beginning on an AHL deal, Olson is a former third-round pick by the Boston Bruins in 2019.

The Calgary native had a standout junior career in Alberta with the Okotoks Oilers which led to his selection by Boston, but never scored more than seven goals in a season with Minnesota-Duluth. Still, Olson was a two-year alternate captain and scored more than 20 points in each of his last three campaigns while remaining healthy for each.

He got extensive playoff experience during his collegiate career with a UMD team that has achieved excellent success at the NCAA level. Olson was in the lineup for each of the Bulldogs playoff wins during the school’s run to an NCHC Frozen Faceoff title and subsequent NCAA Tournament appearance in 2022 and also played in the Frozen Four the year prior.

The left-shot forward signed an amateur tryout contract with the Reign in early April to begin his pro career and made his debut with Ontario that week, before joining the team’s ECHL affiliate in Greenville for their postseason opener. The Swamp Rabbits suffered a disappointing first round loss in six games, but Olson was one of their standouts, scoring two goals and two assists in his first pro playoff contests.

Ontario is hopeful that Olson can continue his late-season momentum into an impactful campaign next year in his first full professional season.

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