Penn State hockey announced the addition of junior transfer Clayton Phillips to their 2019-20 roster Wednesday morning. The left-shot defenseman will be immediately eligible to play this season and has two years of eligibility remaining after being granted an NCAA transfer waiver.
The former Minnesota Golden Gopher has been on Penn State's radar for the entirety of the summer following his announcement that he intended to transfer. The Nittany Lion coaching staff had secured Phillips' commitment over a month ago but continued to fight for his immediate eligibility.
“Clayton is an elite skating defenseman who will add depth and experience to our roster with his previous NCAA participation,” said coach Guy Gadowsky. “He moves pucks extremely well and likes to get up in the play making him a great addition to our back end.”
Phillips heads to State College as a 2017 third-round draft pick (93rd overall) of the Pittsburgh Penguins, just three spots lower in the same draft as current forward Evan Barratt. Phillips was the odd man out on a Minnesota specialty teams and defensive corps, scoring one goal while adding nine assists in 34 games last season.
“I choose Penn State [as a transfer school] because of the combination of athletics and academics,” Phillips said in a press release. “Penn State provides every opportunity you need to succeed as a student-athlete in both the classroom and on the ice.”
he Nittany Lions now have seven NHL draft picks on their roster this season as Phillips joins seniors Nikita Pavlychev (Pittsburgh) and Denis Smirnov (Colorado), juniors Cole Hults (Los Angeles) and Evan Barratt (Chicago), sophomore Aarne Talvitie (New Jersey) and freshman Kevin Wall (Carolina).
The Wednesday addition ought to serve as the final piece to the Nittany Lions' 2019-20 roster.