Here’s an interesting news item today — the Islanders announced the signing of 2010 3rd round pick and University of Wisconsin forward Jason Clark to a three-year entry level contract (ELC). Clark was due to be a Junior at Wisconsin and forgoes his final two seasons to take his shot in the AHL at the age of 20.
If you remember, Clark was ranked 20th in our earlier (and continuing) prospect rankings.
Here’s what I wrote on Clark in mid-June:
Clark is an interesting player and one that is going to have a very important next two seasons. He’s coming off his sophomore season at Wisconsin where he didn’t see very much playing time. Clark accumulated only 15 SOG all year, so don’t let the stat line automatically convince you that he’s a lost cause. It’s tough to judge a player when he’s not getting in the game (although that in itself could be a red flag, of course). That was the same story as his freshman year at UW, one that required off-season hip surgery.
However, Clark’s pedigree is enough for us to keep him in the Top 20, hoping that he’ll have a solid final two seasons in Wisconsin with some upperclassmen moving out and giving him more playing time. He’s got a solid pedigree, spending two years at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota and scoring more than a point-per-game there. We’ll have to wait and see if he can step up at Wisconsin before passing any final judgement on him. He’s a 6-foot-2 center, something that would be a nice addition to the Bridgeport pipeline.
And, well, here we are maybe two years earlier than expected. Clark is coming off two hip surgeries in the past two years but he told Wisconsin’s SB Nation site that he feels 100% (link via LHH). Clark also participated in the Islanders prospect camp at the end of June. I’d imagine he impressed the team quite a bit since they were able to come to an agreement and didn’t ship him back to Madison for another year. Clark will certainly be a story to watch this season in Bridgeport and just adds to the massive infusion of youth the Isles’ AHL affiliate will see in 2012-13.