Saturday, June 24, 2017

2017 NHL Draft: 3 players with Gopher ties chosen during Day 2

Three more players with Gopher ties were selected on Day 2 of the 2017 NHL Draft.

Minnesota incoming freshman forward Scott Reedy, along with verbal commits Clayton Phillips and Sammy Walker, heard their names called Saturday, a day after incoming freshman Casey Mittelstadt became the eighth University of Minnesota player to be chosen in the top-10.

With four picks Minnesota is tied for the most selections among both fellow Big Ten and Minnesota schools. The total doubles 2016's draft picks (Ryan Lindgren and Rem Pitlick).

Phillips, a defenseman from Edina spending the year with Fargo (USHL), was chosen by two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh with the final pick of the third round. (It should be noted that new Minnesota assistant coach Scott Bell was an amateur scout for Pittsburgh primarily covering the USHL.) He was the first Gopher to be selected by the Penguins since Alex Goligoski in 2004.

One of the youngest players eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft - making the cut off by a week - Phillips will be a HS senior in 2017-18. He's expected to play at Minnesota in 2018-19 after a second complete season with the Fargo Force. The 5'10", 182 lbs Phillips finished with 20 points (7G-13A) in 56 games and participated in several draft showcases and international tournaments. He won a gold medal with Team USA in the 2017 World Junior A Challenge.

Nine picks later, San Jose traded with the New York Rangers to move up and draft Reedy. The Prior Lake, MN native joins USNTDP teammate Josh Norris (Michigan) in the Sharks' 2017 Draft class. Reedy, listed at 6'1", 201 lbs, finished with 42 points (22G-20A) in 60 games for the US U-18 team; winning a gold medal with Team USA in the 2017 U-18 WJC.

Despite falling off of NHL Central Scouting's rankings during the season, Walker was chosen by Tampa Bay with the 200th pick. The 1999-born forward spent his draft year playing for both Edina (MN-HS) and Lincoln (USHL). Like Phillips, Walker is on the younger end of draft eligible players and will be expected on campus in 2018 after graduating high school.

Two more incoming freshmen for Minnesota, defenseman Nate Knoepke and forward Brannon McManus, were passed over in their first year of eligibility. Both were ranked by Central Scouting - Knoepke at 79 and McManus at 191.

The Gophers enter 2017-18 with 12 NHL Draft picks on the roster.

Minnesota 2017 NHL Draft Picks

-F Casey Mittelstadt, 1st round, 8th overall (Buffalo)

-D Clayton Phillips, 3rd round, 93rd overall (Pittsburgh)

-F Scott Reedy, 4th round, 102nd overall (San Jose)

-F Sammy Walker, 7th round, 200th overall (Tampa)

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