Penn State has picked up a familiar face to reinforce its defense corps. The team announced Wednesday that former Minnesota defenseman Clayton Phillips will join the Nittany Lions as a transfer for the 2019-20 season.
Penn State adds blue-line transfer Clayton Phillips to its 2019-20 roster! Phillips, a Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick, has two remaining years of eligibility after beginning his collegiate career at Minnesota. #WeAre #HockeyValley— Penn State Men’s Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) September 11, 2019
The former Golden Gopher will be immediately eligible for coach Guy Gadowsky. Phillips appeared in 34 games last season, picking up a goal and nine assists, and played 11 games as a freshman in 2017-18.
“[Phillips] is an elite skating defenseman who will add depth and experience to our roster with his previous NCAA participation,” Gadowsky said via press release. “He moves pucks extremely well and likes to get up in the play making him a great addition to our back end.”
That aggressive mindset perfectly suits the Nittany Lions, who once again should rank at or near the top of the NCAA in scoring this season.
The 2017 third-round pick becomes the seventh NHL draft pick on the Nittany Lions roster. Phillips will likely experiment with several defense partners as he works his way into the lineup and should get his first in-game experience in the blue and white when Penn State hosts Ottawa on Oct. 6.