While it's still too early to have a lot of updates on the roster, I do have some news on that front. The first item is an early trade with the Phantoms acquiring Austin Pooley from the Fargo Force in exchange for a conditional 2017 Phase 2 (Entry) Draft pick. Pooley started his USHL career with the Omaha Lancers in 13-14 before spending the last 2 seasons in Fargo. The 6'1" 200lbs center is a defensive minded forward capable of making a big impact on the penalty kill. He's a Dublin, Ohio native who spent a couple seasons in the Ohio Blue Jackets youth hockey system and committed to Ohio State University. Fans should know of my affinity for the players coming out of the Columbus area so I was happy to see Austin at the tryout camp and making the All-Star roster there. However, the primary reason Fargo traded him was a lack of spots for an overage player as teams are only allowed to roster 4 players with a 1996 birth year and there is no guarantee that he'll make one of those 4 spots. I counted 7 players with a 96 birth year in the tryout all star game.

The second roster item is not such good news. German Poddubnyi, the Phantoms 1st pick in the 2016 Phase 2 Draft and one of the standout offensive forwards from tryout camps might be heading to the OHL. Poddubnyi was selected by the Erie Otters in the 1st round of the 2016 CHL Import Draft. While the USHL may have gained a lot of ground on the Canadian major junior leagues in terms of talent and scouting opportunities, the OHL is still considered to be the top junior league in the world. Poddubnyi does not appear to be perusing a NCAA future and NCAA eligibility is a primary draw for the USHL over the major junior leagues. Poddubnyi has been compared a lot to Max Letunov, a tall and lanky Russian forward with excellent vision and soft hands. He's been very complimentary of the Phantoms organization and hasn't announced signing with Erie but it will be a tall order to convince him that the Phantoms will be a better move for his draft stock.

Also, the Youngstown Phantoms 2016-2017 Schedule is out. Expect some changes at some point as times and dates get juggled to accommodate things like concerts, etc.

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