Vancouver Canucks 2016 NHL Draft Profile: D Kale Clague

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Unfortunately, the 2015-16 season was cut short for the Vancouver Canucks, which means we have a long offseason ahead of us. Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the time to prepare next season’s roster, and the 2016 NHL Entry Draft will certainly play an important part in that process.

Vancouver started off strong in the fall of 2015 but ended the season with a thud. Thanks to their abysmal 28th rank in the league standings, the Canucks own seven picks early in each round. Benning did a great job in his first two years at the job and another successful draft could certainly help boost the rebuild.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming event by profiling as many draft-eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

Today we are taking a look at Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Kale Clague!

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Name: Kale Clague

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6’0”, 179 lbs

Team/League: Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL

Stats (from 







NHL CSS Ranking: 27th (North American Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 2/5, 4.5/5

NHL-potential: Top-Pairing Offensive Defenceman

Draft Range: Top 50

Scouting report

"An offensive defenseman in nature, Clague is a tantalizing blend of speed, cunning, and craftiness. Very smooth skater that is mobile at a professional level. Great vision and is able to control plays with the puck on his stick. Creative passer. Will need to work on his shot and consistency moving forward, but has the undeniable raw skills and fundamental attributes of a puck-moving offensive defenseman. All-in-all, a highly skilled defenseman that has the potential to be a proficient producer from the back end. (Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects 2015)"


Kale Clague has almost everything an offensive defenceman needs. He combines elite-level skating with outstanding vision, stick-handling and passing.

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At just 17 years old, Clague skates at a pro level. His first strides are extremely powerful and he has good top-end speed. Furthermore, his mobility is outstanding which helps him offensively as well as defensively. Thanks to his skating, Clague has little problems with his gap control in one-on-one situations.

Clague is also a terrific passer. The Regina, Saskatchewan, native plays crisp, accurate outlet passes and is an extremely important player for the Wheat Kings on the breakout. On offence, Clague distributes the puck well around the offensive zone, risks little, but always finds a good passing lane. He frequently sets up players for scoring chances with his passes as well as smart moves like shot fakes.

As an offensive playmaker, Clague profits from his hockey sense and vision. He sees open passing lanes and can skate into the right areas to create new options.

Clague is reliable in the defensive zone, too, especially thanks to his skating and positioning, as well as an active stick. However, what puts him on NHL teams’ radars is his offensive ability.


For a mainly offensive-minded defenceman on one of the Western Hockey League’s top teams, 43 points in 71 games are not that outstanding. In comparison, 2016-eligible D-man Jake Bean of the Calgary Hitmen had 64 points in 68 games. That leads us to Clague’s first weakness: consistency.

One game he leads his team’s offence and — in the best case — records multiple points, the next game he disappears completely.

Furthermore, Clague could really improve his shot. He has a terrific one-timer (occasionally) but needs to work on his wrist and slap shots.

As mentioned above, Clague is not bad defensively. However, he is considered an offensive defenceman rather than a two-way player for a reason. He needs to improve in many different areas defensively if he wants to play in the NHL.

Final Thoughts

Who doesn’t like a great offensive defenceman? But does Kale Clague qualify as one? Or will he be a Yannick Weber kind of player? Only time will tell.

What we know today is that Clague is a terrific skater, which never hurts, and he has high-end offensive skill. If he develops well defensively, he could certainly become a great NHL defenceman, especially if he gets paired with a defensive and physical player like Nikita Tryamkin.

While Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning said he wants to select the best player available in the first round, that might change in the later rounds. If Vancouver ends up picking a forward in the top 10, they might want a talented defenceman in the second. If they draft a D-man in the first round, they might want a forward in the second.

Next: Jake Bean: 2016 NHL Draft Profile

Drafting the best player available is probably the best thing to do with every pick, but it gets tough to decide which player is better the later it gets in the draft. At that point, all you need to know is whether or not you like a player. And there is a lot to like about Kale Clague.