Former Bruins Prospect Clarke Signs With ECHL Wichita

( Photo Credit: FlickRiver )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

It appears that the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins and former defensive prospect Cameron Clarke couldn’t come to an agreement on an entry-level contract after the blueliner recently finished his senior year playing for the NCAA Ferris State University. As reported below, the 23-year-old Michigan native has signed a contract with the ECHL Witchita Thunder an “AA” minor-pro affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.

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Clarke a 6′-2″ 190-pound defenseman was originally drafted in the fifth round of the NHL Entry Draft in 2016 out of the Tier II Junior North American Hockey League where he spent one full season with the Lone Star Brahmas.  His offensive numbers in the NAHL might’ve impressed the Bruins scouting staff prompting the NHL organization to select him after posting 9-41-50 numbers in 59 games played in the 2015-16 season. His numbers with the NCAA Bulldogs declined at the higher level where he produced 3-30-33 totals in 126 career games. Clarke was named the NAHL’s defenseman of the year in 2015-16 where he also received accolades with most assists by a defenseman (41) and most points (50) by a blueliner per the Elite Prospects website.

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Now I’m not sure exactly why the Bruins and the Clarke camp couldn’t come to an agreement but it does bring me back to former Bruins defensive prospect that pretty much did the same thing not long ago. In a discussion with fellow Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast writer Joe Chrzanowski, he brought up former prospect blueliner Matt Benning and him not signing with the Boston organization while he was still playing for the NCAA Northeastern Huskies in the NCAA Hockey East Conference. Benning might’ve seen the future outlook with so many defensive prospects in the pipeline and didn’t think he’d get a fair shot with the bottleneck ahead of him ultimately asking to be released from the NHL Bruins control to seek pro opportunities elsewhere.

Could this be the same instance for Clarke and the road that was in front of him in the Boston organization? Who knows but when you see the depth ahead, you can really gauge when your number is up and maybe Cameron didn’t see that in the cards moving forward. This isn’t a knock against the Bruins franchise when it comes to drafting talent but it seems like both sides were in the same boat mutually agreeing to drop the rights the team had with the player. Best of luck to Cameron and his goal of reaching the NHL which now seems like it could be an easier path.

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