Lumberjacks sign Russian standout, make trades, fill roster with 31 draft picks

LocalSportsJournal.com

The Muskegon Lumberjacks didn’t have a first-round pick in the USHL’s Phase One draft on Monday.

And that was fine with the Jacks, because they acquired forward Andrei Svechnikov instead.LSJ Logo incert

Svechnikov, 16, the younger brother of Detroit Red Wings 2015 first round draft pick Yevgeni Svechnikov, was signed to a tender sheet by the Lumberjacks. Under league rules, the team forfeited its first round Phase One draft pick to make the move.

Svechnikov spent the last two seasons with the AK Bars Kazan U16 program. In only 23 games, he scored 39 goals and collected 24 assists for a total of 63 points.

The 6-2, 176 pound forward, a native of Barnaul, Russia, has been a fixture in his country’s national junior program, representing Russia in international competition five times in 2015 and 2016. In 27 games with the national program, playing with older teammates and opponents, Svechnikov registered 21 goals and 18 assists for a total of 39 points.

“Svechnikov is one of the best players in the world,” said Lumberjacks General Manager John Vanbiesbrouck. “He’s a power forward who can score and play in every zone on the ice.”

The Jacks still had plenty of picks left in the league’s Phase One and Phase Two drafts on Monday and Tuesday, and landed their share of talented players.

They selected eight players in Phase One and 23 in Phase Two. The Phase One draft involves upcoming players who were born in the year 2000. The Phase Two draft involves players born between 1996 and 2000.

In Phase One, the Lumberjacks’ top selection was defenseman Caleb Everett, who was taken in the second round with the 23rd overall pick. He stands 6-2 and will brings size to the Lumberjacks defensive corps.

Muskegon’s second selection, coming in the fourth round of the draft, was forward Bryan Lockner.

The Lumberjacks also picked up Matt Stadacher (defenseman), Owen Farris (center), Connor Sweeney (forward), Donny Borgula (forward), Zachary Borgiel (goalie) and Ryan Stevens (forward) in the Phase One draft.

The Lumberjacks opened the Phase Two draft by selecting forward Jordan Timmons with the 15th overall pick.

Timmons led the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U18 squad to a national championship in the recently completed season, posting 45 points on 26 goals and 19 assists in 32 games.

The Lumberjacks also made a flurry of transactions leading up the draft.

They acquired forward Matt Steeves from Sioux City, and that team’s Phase Two second round pick, in exchange for their Phase Two first round pick.

Steeves, a native of Bedford, New Hampshire, just completed his first season in the USHL. He scored 12 goals and collected three assists for a total of 15 points in 58 games.

They also acquired defenseman Colby Bukes from the Chicago Steel, along with Chicago’s 4th round Phase One draft pick, in exchange for Graham Lillibridge and their sixth round Phase One draft pick. Bukes, a native of Littleton, Colorado, spent last season playing for the Colorado Thunderbirds U16 team. The defenseman scored eight goals and notched 23 assists in 32 games this season, the most of any defenseman his league.

Finally, the Lumberjacks acquired Green Bay’s first- and sixth-round picks in the Phase Two draft for forwards Dante Palecco and Lucas Michaud. They used the first-round pick to select Timmons.

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