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Oh Brother! A Devils Draft Dilemma I STAN SPECIAL

New Jersey may have to decide upon which brother of a current member of the organization

by Stan Fischler NJDevils / Special to

Brandt Clarke is a 6-foot-2, 190-pound teenaged defenseman ready to be drafted; perhaps by New Jersey.

Playing against men with Nove Zamky in Slovakia this past season, he impressed NHL scouts enough to make the Ottawa native a prime fourth-overall pick, which just happens to be the Devils drafting spot.

"Clarke is a very smart player," according to one birddog. "His skating is fine, but it's not the best. It's a little knock-kneed. But he reads the game really well, and that's where he succeeds."

Whether he succeeds by being a Devils choice would suit his right wing brother, Graeme, just fine. 

Acquired 80th overall by the Devils in 2019, Graeme Clark has won admirers for his "dazzling speed and shot." And, yes, he's recovered from a torn labrum.

But this brother-ace-in-the making may never make it in Newark because of another brother act, starring The Hughes Boys.

As we all know, Devils center Jack Hughes went first overall in 2019 and already has two NHL seasons under his belt. Jumpin' Jack may not yet be the face of New Jersey's franchise but he's sure on his way there.

Which brings us to his kid brother. Luke is the youngest of the Hughes, Inc. act already starring Jack and Quinn; the latter of whom plays defense for Vancouver.

Luke has gone public with the hope that general manager Tom Fitzgerald will put him on the Garden State ballot. In an story authored by Adam Kimelman, Luke put it this way: 

"It would be unbelievable to go to the Devils. My brother really wants me to be there and I'd love that."

Coincidentally, Luke has been rated No. 4 in the NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters. How about that and the fact that New Jersey has the fourth pick.

Then, you'd have to factor in the feelings revealed by older brother, Jack, who's hardly bashful about speaking up on the Luke issue.

Jack Hughes: "I'd want to take him and I'm not shy about saying that."

Luke also revealed that he's had multiple meetings with the Devils high command and "They've been pretty good conversations."

Older-older brother Quinn already is on record that Luke "is better than I was at the same age."

Luke is not exactly a heavyweight (6-2, 176) but scouts seem unconcerned about that nor the fact that with a Sept. 9 birthday he'll be one of the youngest players in the 2021 draft.

Hockey News columnist Ken Campbell wrote an entire essay on Luke and offered these insights:

"There might not be a better skater among defensemen in the draft than Luke. His edge work is exceptional and he has the ability to create offense and move the puck, by both skating and making a good first pass.

"Luke is projected to be a top-five pick. If he does that, the Hughes would become the first brothers ever to have three top 10 NHL picks."

In the end, GM Fitzgerald will decide whether he wants a Hughes, a Clarke or possibly even someone else.

Hey, the Devils need a blue chip blueliner and if highly-touted Simon Edvinsson still is available by the fourth pick, he could be Fitz's choice; and wouldn't that surprise everyone!

Should that happen, The Maven would utter only two words as the perfect squelch:

Oh, brother!

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