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Lumberjacks Make Splash Trade, Complete 2021 USHL Draft

By Scott Bradford, 05/28/21, 9:15AM EDT

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MUSKEGON, MI- The Muskegon Lumberjacks completed the 2021 USHL Draft on Thursday, selecting 30 players in total during the two-day event. 

Muskegon’s draft process really began back in February when they tendered Canadian forward Carson Rehkopf. Muskegon utilized their second tender last week, inking defenseman Gavin McCarthy to a tender agreement as well.

With their top two picks in the Phase I draft spent because of the two tenders, Muskegon’s first pick in the first phase was third-rounder Gavin Reed, a defenseman from Minnesota.

The Jacks kicked off the Phase II draft by making a splash trade, acquiring defenseman Noah Ellis from the Des Moines Buccaneers in exchange for Luke Devlin and a pair of fourth-round draft picks.

Ellis is a 2002-born blueliner who was selected in the sixth round of the 2020 NHL draft by the Vegas Golden Knights. The Iowa native boasts two years of USHL experience, and the 6-foot-2, 192-pounder racked up 17 points in 40 games for Des Moines last year.

“I believe anytime you have the opportunity to grab an elite player of his caliber who is also a veteran and NHL draft pick, it’s a no-brainer,” said General Manager Jim McGroarty. “It was very tough to give up Devlin, but we felt it was a good opportunity for us to fill a void. We are losing some of our top defenseman and this gives us an opportunity to get back where we need to be.”

After making the deal to bring Ellis to Muskegon, the Jacks drafted D-man Jacob Napier with their first-round pick (12th overall). Napier was a huge offensive producer for the Northstar Christian Academy last year, scoring 20 goals and adding 29 assists in 40 games for the Knights.

“The kid’s a beast,” said Napier’s former teammate and current Lumberjack Ben Strinden. “We went at it in practice all the time- he’s got a very high level of compete and he has the tools to be a productive player in this league. He certainly has the size as well at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds.”

The Jacks then added forward Joey Larson from the New Mexico Ice Wolves (NAHL) in the second round. Larson was a point-per game scorer for the Wolves and tallied 19 goals in 34 games. 

“Joey’s a unique player,” said McGroarty. “He played HS hockey in Michigan for Hartland- he’s had a different path than most. But what’s separated Joey is his ability to think the game and make other players around him better. He has a strong stick and great creativity and has always thought the game ahead of other players. We never thought he would be there in the second round and we felt lucky to get him at that point in the draft. I’m a big fan of him and have been for awhile. I’m looking forward to having him in a Muskegon uniform”

 

Here is a full breakdown of every pick made:

 

PHASE I

 

1st round: Tender Carson Rehkopf

2nd round: Tender Gavin McCarthy

3rd round, 42nd overall: D Gavin Reed (2005) 6-2, 187, Dayton, MN

4th round, 56th overall: F Charlie Lewinski (2005) 6-2, 191, Novi, MI

5th round, 72nd overall: F Emil Jarventie (2005) 5-10, 150, Tampere, FIN

6th round, 87th overall: F Chris Pelosi (2005) 6-0, 160, Sewell, NJ

7th round, 103rd overall: G Thomas Kiesewetter (2005) 6-5, 190, Plymouth, MA

8th round, 115th overall: D Connor Gengle (2005) 5-9, 145, Grand Rapids, MI

8th round, 117th overall: F Eli Friedman (2005) 5-6, 133, Rye, NY

9th round, 132nd overall: F Jacob Terpstra (2005) 5-10, 165, Shelby Township, MI

 

PHASE II- players with previous junior experience are noted

 

1st round, 12th overall: D Jacob Napier (2003) 6-2, 185, Lancaster, NY

2nd round, 27th overall: F Joey Larson (2001) 6-1, 185, Brighton, MI (NM Ice Wolves)

3rd round, 42nd overall: F Jake Richard (2004) 6-1, 172, Lakeland, FL

5th round, 61st overall: F Ethan Whitcomb (2004) 6-2, 174, St. Catharines, ON

6th round, 88th overall: F Kevin Lindemann (2002) 5-9, 178, Zug, SUI (Leksands IF)

7th round, 102nd overall: D Ty Gallagher (2003) 6-0, 188, Clarkston, MI (Team USA U18)

7th round, 104th overall: D George Fegaras (2004) 6-1, 186, Richmond Hill, ON (North York Rangers)

8th round, 112th overall: F Cody Croal (2003) 5-9, 152, North Branch, MN

11th round, 164th overall: G Thomas Heaney (2003) 6-1, 170, Oceanport, NJ

12th round, 179th overall: F George-Boyd Aldridge (2001) 5-10, 164, Lake Orion, MI (Fairbanks Ice Dogs)

13th round, 194th overall: D Bauer Berry (2005) 6-3, 190, Grand Forks, ND

14th round, 209th overall: F Landon MacDonald (2004) 6-1, 172, Brighton, MI

15th round, 224th overall: D Luke Ashton (2005) 6-5, 203, North Vancouver, BC

16th round, 239th overall: F Ryan Humphrey (2003) 5-10, 169, Northville, MI (Hamilton Bulldogs)

17th round, 254th overall: D Chris Romaine (2004) 6-0, 190, Braintree MA

18th round, 169th overall: F Albert Sjoberg (2003) 6-0, 183, Danderyd, SWE (Sodertalje SK)

19th round, 284th overall: D Mikael Petersen (2003) 5-10, 170, Stamford, CT

20th round, 299th overall: F Aidan DeVito (2005) 5-9, 150, Lake Orion, MI

21st round, 314th overall: F Joe Connor (2005) 5-9, 155, Amherst, NH