2012 Minnesota Wild Prospects: #9 - Zack Phillips
Posted by Nathan Wells on Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Center, 6'1" 180 lbs
Saint John (QMJHL) 80 points (30G-50A) in 60 games
If this was a Minnesota prospect beard ranking, Zack Phillips would easily take the top spot. Just look at that beard. It puts yours, mine and everyone's to shame.
Unfortunately for Phillips, this is a ranking of Wild prospects on ability, potential and likelihood to reach it and in that, he's ninth.
Since being drafted 28th overall in 2011 (and being the only player First Round Bust can claim to have gotten right in the critically claimed but often wrong "10 for #10/7 for #7" series), Phillips has done nothing but continue to develop his game. One of many talented forwards on a great Saint John Sea Dogs team (winner of the last two QMJHL Presidents Cups), Zack finished second on the team in goals and even stepped up for the Sea Dogs when 2011 #3 overall pick Jonathan Huberdeau was injured.
Phillips has a nose for the net and the smarts to be a playmaker. He has shown chemistry with fellow Minnesota prospect Charlie Coyle, who joined Saint John mid-season in addition to gelling with Mikael Granlund at a pair of Wild prospect development camps. There is plenty to be excited about Phillips as he makes his way to the professional ranks; however the 2011 first round pick does have a few question marks.
The biggest knock on Phillips has been his skating and how it translates to the next level. He isn't the second coming of Andrew Brunette in that regard but sticks out in an organization that has been stockpiling speed. It may mean that with guys like Granlund and Johan Larsson in the pipeline at center, Zack will have a better chance on the wing. Despite that, the 20 year-old was given a chance last year in training camp as a center to mixed results. Phillips did not look out of place but also at times tried to do too much. Moves which worked at the junior level were easily stopped by NHL defensemen.
There's a lot of talent when it comes to Phillips and it should be no surprise to see him higher on other lists or in a top-six NHL role. However with Minnesota's talented drafts and pipeline, the uncertainty over reaching his ceiling drops him in our eyes.
Previous 2012 Minnesota Wild Top 20 Articles:
#10 - Mario Lucia
#11 - Johan Gustafsson
#12 - Darcy Kuemper
#13 - Erik Haula
#14 - Daniel Gunnarsson
#15 - Raphael Bussieres
#16 - Kris Foucault
#17 - Nick Seeler
#18 - Tyler Cuma
#19 - Chay Genoway
#20 - Tyler Graovac