And The #6 Prospect Is...


(Photo Courtesy of Sportsnet.Ca)

Zack Phillips
Center, 6'1" 180 Pounds
Saint John (QMJHL), 38 Goals, 57 Assists in 67 Games

The selection of Phillips with San Jose pick, 28th overall, has kind of flown under the radar when its come to the recent surge of columns and posts breaking down the Brent Burns trade that went down on Draft Day. Plenty attention has been paid to the principle NHL figures trading places (Burns and Setoguchi,) and Charlie Coyle, but let's not forget that Phillips was a highly thought of prospect during the course of his Draft Year.
In the Third Episode of "Becoming Wild" the Wild Draft Table got a call from "Army" (believed to be Doug Armstrong, GM of St. Louis) who offered the 41st and 46th picks for #28, but they opted to see what was there- so the presumption is that Phillips is one of the "higher guys" they had on their list, and trading down would take them too far down to grab a guy from that tier.
So here we are, talking about Zack Phillips as the 6th best Wild Prospect.
He was one of the more visible offensive standouts at Development Camp, showing his excellent hockey sense and vision in all three zones; the line combination of him, Mikael Granlund, and Johan Larsson were particularly potent on the second day of scrimmages. The easy knock on Phillips is that his skating isn't particularly explosive, but let's remember that he's just 18- he doesn't have to be a ready-made NHL player right now. He's got time to continue to grow and continue to develop, and The Brass will do what they can to maximize his potential. His game isn't streaking down the wing and launching rockets; he's an honest goal scorer, and excellent playmaker- the more I think about it, he's got an awful lot of similarities to Andrew Brunette. Maybe not the most swift of skaters, but a player so smart that they can compensate for that and be an effective contributor.

Phillips is already in Minnesota training and preparing for Camp and The Traverse City Prospect Tournament in September, which gives one some insight into his work ethic and dedication.

He may get lost in the shuffle surrounding the trade fallout, but he's got the potential to be one hell of a player for Minnesota.

Previously:
Intro
Colton Gillies
Johan Larsson
Mario Lucia
Matt Hackett

4 comments:

  1. My position after Antti Miettinen is that I'll take hands and vision with a lack of speed vs the reverse, any time. Whether this is a General fighting the last war or not remains to be seen.

    Does he *really* have significant upside potential on his skating? Does that really happen much from 18 to 21, say? Got any examples to offer where it has happened in the past for a given draft pick where that was his deficiency? Surely not Bruno. He succeeded without speed, he didn't get faster.

    That said, Brent Flahr seemed remarkably unconcerned by that when asked.

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  2. Sure his skating can be improved. Phillips has said he's aware that his skating can be improved upon; I'm sure that it was addressed in his exit interview at Development Camp.

    The bottom line is that The Brass will do what they can to get the most out of him, and if his skating is a flaw, they'll work with him to improve it by whatever means available.

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  3. The thing I feel is lost in all the comparisons to Bruno is that Phillips' skating isn't _that_ bad. It's certainly not good, and it's below average, but he wouldn't be the worst skater in the league by a long shot.

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  4. Squidz- And you're nuts on. He's not Bruno slow, but just not overly dynamic or explosive. Kinda "hops" when he strides too, but this stuff can be ironed out.

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