MUSKEGON, Michigan (February 7th) – The Muskegon Lumberjacks have announced numerous roster moves in which they have acquired four new players via trades in Chicago Steel Forwards Christian Heil and Jeff Kubiak; Indiana Ice Forward Brian Morgan; and Tri-City Storm Defenseman Josh McArdle.
“We are excited to have these four players join the team as they each bring in unique qualities that will help this team the rest of season,” said Lumberjacks Head Coach Jim McKenzie. “We believe that we have important pieces in place now to make a deep run towards a USHL Championship.”
Christian Heil, the Westminster, Colorado native, has totaled 20 points (16 goals and 4 assists) in 30 games played with the Steel this season and has a commitment to play for Colorado College out of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).
“Christian (Heil) provides great speed and skill along the front line that will mix in well with the guys already in place here,” said McKenzie. “Heil is a natural center that will help provide more leadership to the team.”
Heil is in his second season in the USHL where he has racked up 39 points (24 goals and 15 assists) in 85 games played with Chicago. Before coming to the USHL, Heil played two seasons for the Colorado Thunderbirds junior hockey program where he accumulated 41 points (15 goals and 26 assists) in 74 games played.
Jeff Kubiak, the Tinley Park, Illinois native, has notched 10 points (4 goals and 6 assists) in 35 games played with the Steel this season and has a commitment to play for Cornell University out of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC).
“Jeff (Kubiak) is a big body that will help provide a strong and physical presence up front,” said McKenzie. “Kubiak is another center that will help us in crucial situations, especially in the faceoff circle with his size.”
Kubiak is in his second season in the USHL where he has accumulated 36 points (16 goals and 20 assists) in 89 games played with Chicago. Before entering the USHL, Kubiak played two seasons for the Chicago Fury junior hockey program where he totaled 50 points (18 goals and 32 assists) in 77 games played.
Brian Morgan, the Windham, New Hampshire native, has totaled 23 points (16 goals and 7 assists) through 38 games played in his first season in the USHL and is committed to play for the University of Maine Black Bears out of the Hockey East Conference.
“Brian (Morgan) is another solid forward that uses his size well and his very strong in front of the net,” said McKenzie. “Morgan is a gritty guy that will do the little things for the team and possesses a hard shot.”
Before coming to the USHL, Morgan spent the previous two seasons with New Hampshire Junior Monarchs out of the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL) accumulating 90 points (39 goals and 51 assists) in 96 totals games played between the regular season and playoffs. Prior to playing with the Junior Monarchs, Morgan spent two seasons with the Boston Junior Bruins out of the Empire Junior Hockey League (EmJHL) tallying 106 points (50 goals and 56 assists) in 92 total games played between the regular season and playoffs.
Josh McArdle, the Roscoe, Illinois native, has three assists in 19 games played with Tri-City this season and has a college commitment to Yale University out of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC).
“Josh (McArdle) is a solid stay-at-home defenseman that always makes the smart play when relied upon,” said McKenzie. “McArdle is a smart kid that will help contribute to the size and depth that is in place here.”
McArdle is currently in his second season in the USHL where he has accumulated 8 points (1 goal and 7 assists) 64 total games played with Tri-City. Prior to entering the USHL, McArdle spent the 2011-12 season with the Team Illinois Under-16 junior hockey squad where he notched 13 points (5 goals and 8 assists) in 33 games played. In the 2009-10 season, McArdle suited up for the Madison Capitols Under-16 junior hockey team putting up 3 points (2 goals and 1 assist) in 38 games played.
Along with McArdle, Muskegon picks up Tri-City’s seventh-round pick in the 2013 USHL Entry Draft. In return, the Lumberjacks sent Forward Ben Foster (14 goals and 8 assists in 43 games) to the Storm.
In exchange for the deal that acquired Chicago’s Heil and Kubiak, the Lumberjacks sent Forward Tyler Heinonen (15 goals and 16 assists in 41 games) and affiliate Forward Chase Phelps to the Steel. Phelps is currently playing for Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep in Minnesota.
The Brian Morgan trade included the Lumberjacks sending their second-round pick in the 2013 USHL Entry Draft to Indiana in exchange for the Ice’s sixth-round pick in the same draft.
Muskegon also completed a deal with the Waterloo Black Hawks sending Defenseman Chris Leibinger to the Western Conference in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2013 USHL Entry Draft.
In other news, the Lumberjacks have added two affiliate players in Forward Connor Hurley (Eagan, Minnesota) and Defenseman Doyle Somerby (Marblehead, Massachusetts) to their active roster. Both players will join the team following the conclusion of their respective high school hockey seasons.
Connor Hurley is the brother of current Lumberjacks Forward Cullen Hurley and is currently playing at Edina High School. Connor Hurley is draft-eligible for this summer’s 51st NHL Entry Draft in June and is projected to be a first to second round pick. Doyle Somerby currently attends Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire and was a fifth-round pick of the New York Islanders in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)