After Casey Mittelstadt went eighth overall to the Buffalo Sabres on Day one of the NHL Draft there were plenty of other future Gophers who would be hoping to hear their name called on day two of the draft. For three players, it would come true.
The first future off of the board on Day two of the NHL Draft was verbal commit Clayton Phillips of Edina. Phillips was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the last pick in the third round, #93 overall. Clayton almost was not eligible to be drafted this year. His birthday is September 9, 1999. If he was born after the 15th of September, he would be ineligible to be drafted until 2018.
Phillips is a puck moving defenseman who played for Fargo in the USHL this past season. He will be expected to return to the Force for the 2017-18 season before coming into Dinkytown as a freshman in the fall of 2018. Chris Dilks of SB Nation College Hockey had a great profile of Phillips. Of note, new Gopher assistant Scott Bell was a scout for the Penguins the last few seasons, so he has to be salivating to work with him on the Gopher roster.
The second future Gopher off the board was incoming freshman Scott Reedy. The San Jose Sharks traded up in the fourth round to select the forward with the 102nd overall pick. Reedy is from Prior Lake and played for Shattuck St Mary’s for his first two years of high school before playing for the US National Development Team the last two seasons. Reedy finished with 42 points (22 goals) in 60 games for the US U-18 team and helped the US win a gold medal in the 2017 U-18 World Championships.
Reedy is listed at 6’1 203” and will slot into the Gopher lineup immediately in the fall.
The third and final future Gopher selected in the NHL Draft was Sammy Walker who was taken by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the seventh round with selection #200. Walker like Phillips is an Edina native and he split time between the Hornets Varsity and Lincoln of the USHL last season. Walker like Phillips is a young draftee, and still has one more year of high school eligibility before joining the Gophers in the fall of 2018. Walker is a small forward at 5’9 and only 150” at the moment, but when you realize he just turned 16 three weeks ago, he has plenty of time to gorw a bit before putting on the maroon and gold.
Two other Gophers who will be coming in as freshmen and had a possibility to be drafted were passed up in their first year of eligibility. Forward Brandon McMannus and defenseman Nate Knoepke did not hear their name called, but if they impress in their first year at Minnesota they could hear their name called in 2018. If not, its not the worst thing in the world either as plenty of undrafted players sign lucrative pro contracts after their college careers with Justin Kloos being one example last spring.
With luck, all of the players will have performed well enough in the maroon and gold to impress.