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 San Diego Gulls

Anaheim Ducks Sign Damian Clara to Three-Year Entry-Level Contract

June 3, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
San Diego Gulls News Release

ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has signed goaltender Damian Clara to a three-year entry-level contract.

Clara, 19 (1/13/05), was named the top junior player in the HockeyAllsvenskan in 2023-24 (Sweden's second division), the first non-Swedish player to earn the Guldgallret award (Golden Grid), while also leading Brynas to promotion to the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). He posted a 25-8-0 record with four shutouts, a 2.23 goals-against average (GAA) and .913 save percentage (SV%) in 34 games with Brynas, ranking second among HockeyAllsvenskan goalies in wins and GAA. He became the youngest-ever goaltender to win 25 games in Sweden's second division, posting the fourth-most wins ever by a goalie 21-and-under.

The 6-6, 214-pound goaltender won 10 of his 11 playoff appearances (10-1) in 2024, helping Brynas earn promotion to the SHL. Clara led all HockeyAllsvenskan goaltenders in postseason wins, GAA (1.68) and SV% (.931). At 19 years old, he became the youngest-ever goaltender to lead a team to promotion in the SHL while posting the best GAA in qualification history (minimum 10 games). He is also one of four goalies in qualification history to win 10 games.

Selected by Anaheim in the second round (60th overall) of the 2023 NHL Draft, Clara became the first-ever player from Italy to be drafted by an NHL team. In 2022-23, Clara went 17-17-0 with a 2.79 GAA and .903 SV% in 35 games with Farjestad Jr. of Sweden's top junior league. He led EC Salzburg to an ICEYSL championship (Austria's junior league) in 2020-21, posting a 6-1-0 record with a 2.29 GAA.

The Brunico, Italy native helped Italy to a bronze medal at the 2023 World Junior Championship (WJC) Division I, Group B tournament, going 3-1-0 with a 1.25 GAA and .954 SV%. He was named the tournament's Best Goaltender and Top Player on the Team. He also helped Italy win gold at the 2022 WJC Division II tournament, earning the Best Goaltender award. Internationally, he has represented Italy in the Division I World Championships in 2021, 2023 and 2024. At 16 years old in May 2021, Clara became the youngest goaltender to ever dress at the World Championships, and the youngest player overall in more than 80 years.

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