Our annual, 2021 version of the top players under the age of 25 in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.
#25: Santeri Airola
#24: Jan Drozg
#23: Will Reilly
#22: Clayton Phillips
#21: Chase Yoder
#20: Kirill Tankov
#19: Raivis Ansons
#18: Lukas Svejkovsky
#17: Judd Caulfield
#16: Johnathan Gruden
#15: Kasper Bjorkqvist
#14: Jordy Bellerive
#13: Cam Lee
#12: Drew O’Connor
#11: Joel Blomqvist
#10: Isaac Belliveau
#9: Calle Clang, Goaltender
2020 Ranking: #13
Age: 19 (May 20, 2002)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 176 pounds
Acquired Via: 2020 NHL Draft (Third Round, Pick #77 overall)
Checking into the top 10 of this year’s list is goalie Calle Clang. Clang is just ever so ahead of fellow 2020 Pittsburgh drafted goalie Joel Blomqvist due to Clang’s strong 2020-21 season. Clang was named the best junior player of the year in the Allsvenskan (Sweden’s second division level). Despite playing in front of the worst team in the league, Clang finished with a 13-19-0 record and was eighth in the league in goals against and ninth best in save percentage.
In the 21 games where Clang wasn’t on the ice for Kristianstads, they only won three games, showing just how valuable and good he was out there.
Clang also stood on his head in the relegation series, stopping 190 of 199 shots (.959 save%) in order to help that club stay in the Allsvenskan league next season. That included stopping 45/46 in the deciding game, where it took deep into overtime for his offense to finally get that winning goal.
Kristianstands won’t be Clang’s path any further though, he was on loan to that lower team and this spring extended his contract for two years with Rögle, a solid SHL top division team where he will likely play a role in 2021-22 as one of the main goalies.
As written recently on Dobber Prospects:
I watched three of Clang’s games this year: one against Timrå IK, the best team in the league, and the final two games of the relegation playoff.
As is to be expected when you play on the worst team in the league, Clang was called upon often. In the game against Timrå IK, he got hung out to dry a couple times on breakaways and rebounds. His team’s defense was much better at preventing high-danger chances in the relegation round, but he still faced plenty of shots.
Clang plays a different style to Blomqvist. Although he plays deep in the crease, the Swede is less mobile and relies on his reflexes more. You could say Blomqvist is the better athlete and Clang reads the game at a higher level.
He is terrific at reading through traffic – I didn’t see him get beat once through a screen.
Here’s a few shots from that article about Clang making some saves last season.
Clang is a goalie who tends to play deep in his crease and stay square to the puck. It pays off as it looks like the pucks just hit him and he doesn’t have to make a lot of movement to make saves.
It will take a while for Clang to develop and keep going, he’s still incredibly young as a goalie. He could still stand to be a bit more aggressive at times, and it will be interesting to track his progress as he makes a big stride this year to play top level talent in the SHL.
Calle Clang is a very impressive young goalie and his efforts in 2020-21 were borderline heroic to hold a bad team into games and almost single-handedly keep them in the league for next season. He won’t be a player you see in Pittsburgh next season or even the year after that, but right now he’s showing a lot of promise as a talented youngster who could figure into the organization’s longer term plans if he continues to develop and continue his current trajectory.