And The #6 Prospect Is...
Posted by Dan Shrader on Saturday, August 13, 2011
(Photo Courtesy of Sportsnet.Ca)
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.