Three players with Fargo Force ties were selected in the NHL draft this past weekend in Chicago, IL at the United Center. Clayton Phillips, Denis Smirnov and Jack Adams were all taken in the draft.
Clayton Phillips went 93rd overall in the third round by the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The defenseman out of Edina, MN played in his first full season in the USHL this past year. He tallied 20 points in 60 games played with seven goals and 13 assists. He finished with a plus/minus of +18 on the year. Phillips is committed to play college hockey at the University of Minnesota following his junior hockey career.
Former forward, Denis Smirnov, was selected 156th overall in the sixth round by the Colorado Avalanche. The Russian skater just finished his freshman season at Penn State University where he led the team in scoring with 47 points in 39 games played. He scored 19 goals and added 28 assists, averaging 1.2 points per game. Smirnov was named to the NCAA B1G All-Rookie Team following his first collegiate season.
Jack Adams was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the sixth round, 162nd overall. The forward just wrapped up his junior career with the Force with a breakout second season. In his first year with Fargo, he tallied 24 points in 54 games played. Upon returning to the Force for his second year in 2016-17, he amassed 60 points in 56 games played scoring 37 goals and adding 23 assists. The Boxford, MA forward finished third overall on the team in scoring and broke the goal scoring record in a single season for the Force which was held by previous forward Andy Taranto (34 goals scored). Adams heads to Union College in the fall to begin his collegiate career.
In the 2017 NHL Draft, there were 48 players with USHL ties selected, 40 of which played in the league this past season and eight of which were alumni. The 40 players selected set a USHL record for most NHL Draft selections from the USHL, breaking the previous mark of 37 set at the 2014 and 2015 NHL Drafts.
Since Fargo’s inaugural season in 2008, there have been 18 total players that have been on the Force roster who have been drafted into the NHL (including this year’s draft). Players drafted prior to joining the Force are not included in that tally. The most was during the 2012 NHL Draft where four players were drafted.