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Prospect Tuesdays: Zack Phillips Making Strides

He doesn't want a hug ...
He doesn't want a hug ...

On Monday, Team Canada announced its selection roster for this years World Juniors Championships. Alot of interesting names on the roster including two Wild prospects:

Zack Phillips and Brett Bulmer.

Here's the link to the selection roster

And because I omitted Phillips in my last article (thank for JS so pointing that out publically), this article will be focused on the one I forgot who will potentially represent Canada

Zack Phillips

#7 / Center / Saint John Sea Dogs



Oct 28, 1992

GP G A P +/- PIM
2011 - Saint John Sea Dogs
28 17

Heading into the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, many of the concerns that has kept Phillips from being considered a top 10 pick is his ability to produce on his own (without top pick Jonathan Hurbedeau) and his slow skating speed.

Ever since being drafted by the Minnesota Wild, he impressed during the Wild's developmental camp. His slow skating was noted but he managed to get where he needed to be, raising thoughts that his inability to skate was overblown.

Arriving back to the juniors, he began to light it up

Phillips leads the team with 16 goals and 30 assists in 26 games, good for 5th in overall scoring in QMJHL. Take note that he has played 3-4 games less than those ahead of him.

This article featured Zack Phillips and gives great insight in Phillip's improve this year:

"I worked on it a lot this summer,’’ Phillips said of his skating. "That was my knock last year going into the draft. When you hear about what you don’t do well over and over again, you want to work on it and I think I’ve improved.’’

"He’s a top player in our league. He’s got a terrific shot and he finds that top shelf more than any player I’ve seen in the league so far. He’s good down low along the goal line and he’s good in the high slot."

Personally, I think we may have found a gem late in the first round. He may not be the biggest or fastest, but he has the smarts and stick skills to become a dangerous offensive prospect.

It is doubtful he would find a place on the 3rd or 4th line considering Team Canada's history of picking energy and role players to fill those lines. So it is most likely Phillips will have to challenge players such as Brendan Gallagher and Tyler Toffoli for a position of the top six wings.

Phillips will have a tough time battling those experienced junior players but what Phillips does have going for him is his chemistry with Jonathan Hurbedeau.

Here is another article featuring Phillips and his invitation:

"With some of the injuries we've had, I've had a chance to step up and help our team," Phillips said of Team Canada taking notice of his play.

The Sea Dogs forward is in the midst of a team record 19-game point streak heading into tonight's game. He's fifth in the QMJHL scoring race with 46 points, including 16 goals, in 26 games.

He is producing without Jonathan Hurbedeau, erasing one of the major concerns heading into the draft. The other major concern on his skating ability is being slowly diminished as Phillips seems determined in improve his technique.

All that is left is whether he can translate his skills into the professional levels.

A stint with Team Canada against the world's top prospects would help eliminate that fear.

Keep an eye on him!