Next up in our annual prospect review and forecast series is Chase Clark, goaltender for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League (USHL). (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page in the top menu or right here.)
Clark, 20, is a 6’-6” right-handed goaltender from Williamsville, New York. He was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the sixth round (#183 overall) of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. He has committed to Quinnipiac for the 2022-23 season and remains unsigned by the Capitals.
Chase was born and raised in Pendleton, NY, attending Starpoint School until the sixth grade. In 2014 the Clark family moved to Williamsville where he attended Transit Road Middle School and Williamsville East High School.
Clark has three sisters. His younger sister, Summer Clark, graduated last June and is playing softball collegiately at the University of Syracuse. His two older sisters, Madison and Brianna, played collegiate volleyball and softball at East Carolina and Niagara, respectively.
According to NY Hockey Online, prior to beginning his career in organized hockey, Chase began skating on a pond near his Pendleton home. Following his first year with the Wheatfield Blades, he played House I select for the Blades the following season.
The highlight for Chase in his early years came in the 2017-18 season when he was selected to play in the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) prospects game (the GTHL’s All-Star event). Out of the 24 goalies in the league, Chase was one of four selected for the game.
Not only did he play, but he was selected MVP of the contest, a game in which Don Cherry dropped the ceremonial opening faceoff and presented the MVP Award to Chase. To top it off, Cherry not only mentioned the GTHL as well Chase, but a photo of Cherry and Chase (left) was shown on the “Coaches Corner” weekly broadcast.
“That was really pretty cool,” remarked Chase. “But to be mentioned by him on “Coaches Corner,” that really was cool.”
Clark played the 2018-19 season with the Buffalo Regals of the GOJHL and the 2019-20 season with the Buffalo Junior Sabres of the OJHL (Ontario Junior Hockey League). His record for the Junior Sabres in the 2019-20 season was 12-8-1 in 24 games.
A concussion suffered during camp with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers cost Clark a roster spot and forced him to find a new team for the 2020-21 season. This led Clark to join the Jersey Hitmen of the National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC), where he proved to NHL scouts that he had the talent to be considered a future pro.
Clark played 22 games for the Hitmen in 2020-21, posting a record of 18-2-1, with three shutouts, a 1.92 goals against average and a .935 save percentage. He helped the Hitmen win the Dineen Cup.
In two games of the championship series, Clark stopped 49 of 51 shots and won both games. The Jersey Hitmen were also the regular season champions, winning the Founders Cup for the National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC). Clark’s 2020-21 season ultimately garnered him a selection by the Capitals in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
The 2021-22 season saw Clark begin the season with the Tri-City Storm, where he dealt with injuries in the first half of the season. The Muskegon Lumberjacks announced February 8 that the club had acquired Clark from the Tri-City Storm in exchange for draft picks. Clark appeared in seven games with the Storm this season, with a 4-2-1 record, a 2.51 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage. Clark appeared in 13 regular season games and nine post season games with the Lumberjacks.
2021-2022 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Chase Clark during the 2021-2022 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Clark opened the season stopping 37 of 38 shots faced against the Madison Capitols (USHL) on September 24. He has a 3.03 GAA and a .899 save percentage in three appearances. He is currently third on the team’s depth chart.
Clark sustained an injury early in the month and missed several games. As a result he saw action in just one game and took the overtime loss to the Fargo Force on November 27. He gave up five goals on 29 shots, which is probably somewhat expected. His last start was on October 29th, nearly a month prior.
For the season Clark has a 2.57 GAA and a .915 save percentage. Way too early and too few games watched to make any in-depth analysis at this point.
Clark was designated to the injured/illness list for the game in December 18. Clark played in two games during the month of December. He was the loser in relief on December 3 and was the winner in a 3-2 shootout on December 11. For the season, he has played in 7 games, has a 4-2-1 record, a GAA of 2.51 and a save percentage of .915
Tri-City continues to boast the best winning percentage in the USHL (.786%).
Clark has dealt with injuries and numerous scratches so far this season. He played in no games in January. For the season, Clark is 4-2-1-0 with a 2.51 GAA and a .915 save percentage. He’s show signs of decent work when he has played. Hopefully more games and playing time is on the horizon at Quinnipiac this fall.
The Muskegon Lumberjacks announced February 8 that the club had acquired Clark from the Tri-City Storm in exchange for draft picks. Clark appeared in seven games with the Storm this season, with a 4-2-1 record, a 2.51 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.
“We’re excited to add Chase to our team and improve our goaltending competition,” said Lumberjacks President of Hockey Operations Steve Lowe. “We’re really happy with our current goaltending situation and bringing in an NHL draft pick such as Chase will allow Cameron [Korpi] and Aleksandr [Kuleshov] to grow as goaltenders.”
Clark made his first start for the Lumberjacks on February 18 and was shelled in his first two games. He had a 6.39 GAA and a .783 save percentage for the Jacks.
During the month of March, Clark posted a 1-2 record with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, the USHL team that acquired him in February. He was the winning goalie in a 5-4 overtime win against Cedar Rapids. So far, he has played in six games with Muskegon since the trade in February. Clark has posted a 1-2-0 record with a save percentage of .871 and a Goals Against Average of 5.13. For his prior team, the Tri-City Storm, he posted a 4-2-1 record, a save percentage of .915 and a Goals Against Average of 2.51.
April should be an interesting month for Clark, as he is now settled in with his new team, and we should get a better feel for his level of play as the season winds down. Clark is committed to Quinnipiac for this fall, which will be a great next step in his development.
During the month of April, Clark posted a 2-3 record with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, the USHL team that acquired him in February. Overall for Muskegon, he compiled a 3-5 record overall with a save percentage of .889 and a goals-against-average of 3.66.
— Muskegon Lumberjacks (@MuskegonJacks) April 11, 2022
He then excelled in the playoffs, as Muskegon eliminated Cedar Rapids in a best of three series. On April 25, he made 31 saves as Muskegon shut out Cedar Rapids 6-0 during the first game of their best-of-three first-round playoff series. The next night, he nearly got another shutout, giving up a goal towards the end of the game as Muskegon beat Cedar Rapid 6-1, advancing to the second round of the playoffs.
For the series, he made 64 saves and compiled a save percentage of .985. Muskegon advanced to play the Dubuque Fighting Saints. For the playoffs thus far, he has played in three games, has a 2-0 record, a save percentage of .959 and has made 94 saves.
For his prior team, the Tri-City Storm, he posted a 4-2-1 record, a save percentage of .915, and a Goals Against Average of 2.51.
It’s hard not to get excited for Clark’s 6’-6” frame. In an era of big goalies, Clark will provide just that, and is currently the tallest netminder in the Capitals organization. According to the Buffalo News, Clark grew two inches in the summer of 2020 alone, so he may not be done growing.
Clark committed to playing for Quinnipiac early in the 2021-22 season, which will provide a solid next step in his development. Unfortunately for Clark, Quinnipiac’s number one goaltender, Yaniv Perets (undrafted), has committed to return to Quinnipiac next season, which will no doubt impact Clark’s playing time. Perets posted a 1.17 goals against average this season which broke the NCAA record of NHL All-Star Jimmy Howard (1.19), who set the record with Maine in 2004.
Clark’s development has been going well, and with a little luck he’ll get decent playing time with Quinnipiac this fall.
By Jon Sorensen
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