2009-10: Clinston Franklin was the second-leading scorer for Forest Lake High School in Minnesota as a sophomore. Franklin scored 19 goals with 21 assists and was plus-25 with 18 penalty minutes in 27 games. Forest Lake finished second to Cretin-Derham Hall in the Suburban East Conference and defeated Grand Rapids before falling to Elk River in the Section 7AA semifinals.
2010-11: Franklin scored a team-leading 23 goals and had 10 assists in 26 games as a junior for Forest Lake. The Rangers slipped to seventh in the Suburban East Conference and lost to Elk River, 2-0, in the quarterfinals of the Section 7AA tournament.
2011-12: Franklin was the second-leading scorer for Forest Lake behind fell senior Lucas Kohls in his final season of high school hockey. In 27 games he scored 15 goals with 27 assists and had 28 penalty minutes. Forest Lake was seventh in Suburban East but defeated third-seeded Grand Rapids 3-2 before falling to Andover in a wild 7-6 game in the Section 7AA semifinals. In five games for Team Northeast during the fall in the Upper Midwest Elite High School League he scored 2 goals with 3 assists. Franklin was selected by Sioux Falls in the fifth round (61st overall) of the 2012 USHL Entry Draft.
2012-13: Franklin led Sioux Falls with 32 goals in his first USHL season and was the Stampede’s second-leading scorer behind California native Dennis Kravchenko. He had 28 assists and was plus-30 with 60 penalty minutes in 63 regular season games. Sioux Falls finished first in the Western Conference and reached the second round in the Clark Cup playoffs; defeating Lincoln in five games before falling to Fargo. Franklin scored 1 goal with 3 assists and had an even plus/minus with 7 penalty minutes in ten playoff games. In January he committed to playing college hockey at Minnesota State-Mankato in 2014-15.
2013-14: Franklin was the leading scorer for the Stampede in his second season and represented the USA in the 2013 World Junior A Challenge. He scored 22 goals with 29 assists and was plus-19 with 43 penalty minutes in 53 games. Franklin scored 9 goals with 12 assists on the power play. Sioux Falls finished fourth in the Western Conference and was swept by Waterloo in a first round playoff series. Franklin scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was minus-3 with 4 penalty minutes in three playoff games. In his third year of draft eligibility he was selected by Winnipeg in the fifth round (129th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Franklin is the epitome of a late bloomer who benefitted from spending two seasons of junior hockey after his high school career. While there are technical parts of his game which will need to improve if he is to compete at the pro level, he has been a natural scorer at the high school and junior levels and is showing that same ability early in his college hockey career.
Franklin has stepped right into the lineup for Minnesota State as a freshman in 2014-15. While all areas of his game will need to develop to compete at the pro level, his early success with the Mavericks — and his offensive instincts — suggest that the Jets may have found something in this late round pick. He will have time to develop while playing college hockey.