Lumberjacks acquire Pittsburgh Penguins draftee Clayton Phillips in day full of trades

Phillips (from the USHL)

By @MichaelCaples –

After acquiring goaltender Keegan Karki yesterday, the Muskegon Lumberjacks continued to make roster moves today – including the addition of a Pittsburgh Penguins third-round pick.

The Lumberjacks have acquired defenseman Clayton Phillips from the Fargo Force. Phillips, a University of Minnesota commit, was named to the USHL all-rookie team last season and was subsequently drafted by Pittsburgh in the third round of the NHL Draft.

A 5-foot-11, 188-pound offensive defenseman, Phillips is expected to give a boost to a Muskegon power-play unit that has only generated one goal so far this season.

In return for Phillips and a ninth-round pick in the 2018 USHL Draft, the Lumberjacks send two second-round picks and a player to be named later to Fargo.

“I’ve been working really hard on this,” said Muskegon GM John Vanbiesbrouck. “We had an opportunity to get a top defenseman in this league in Phillips and we were able to make it happen. I’m pretty excited.”

The Lumberjacks also sent Cornell commit Travis Mitchell to Omaha in exchange for Nic Belpedio – the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 USHL Phase I Draft – and a third-round pick.

“Mitchell is developing nicely,” said Vanbiesbrouck. “He wants to play top-six minutes and he’ll have that opportunity in Omaha.”

Muskegon also acquired forward and Toronto native Dante Sheriff from Fargo in a separate trade; that one cost the Lumberjacks cash and a conditional pick.

Forward Donovan Ott was placed on waivers, as well.

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