Aussie Walker joins Phantoms


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

Just before boarding their bus to Chicago for a two-game roadtrip, the Youngstown Phantoms added forward Nathan Walker, a native of Sydney, Australia, to their roster on Thursday.

Walker has spent the past six years playing in the Czech Republic with HC Vitkovice of the Czech Extraliga.

The 18-year-old has split time this season and last with the Vitkovice senior team and the Czech under-20 team. With Vitkovice, he registered four goals and six assists over 54 games. With the national team, he racked up 26-18-44 in 27 games.

“Nathan is a player that we hope can help us out with some scoring, but he’s also good skater and has a high compete level,” Phantoms head coach Anthony Noreen said. “He’s a guy who’s been playing with and against men this season and last, and we’re hoping that brings some veteran experience to our locker room as well.”

Walker has garnered the attention of NHL scouts with his play for Vitkovice over the past season and a half, including standout performances at the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound winger led Vitkovice to back-to-back semifinal berths in the tournament and scored the lone goal for the Czech team against Team Canada in 2011.

Walker was ranked the No. 25 European Skater on NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings ahead of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

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