Prospect Profile: Zack Phillips
Prospect Report is a weekly series that will look at a Wild prospect every Wednesday. If there is any prospect you would like featured, e-mail me at email@example.com.
Born – 10/28/1992
Position – C
Ht – 6’1”
Wt – 181
Shoots – Right
Phillips is the player that the Wild used the draft pick acquired in the Brent Burns trade on, so the spotlight is already on him to some extent because of the circumstance surrounding him coming to the Wild, but the buzz surrounding him is already good.
Phillips’ pedigree is 100 percent offense, as he’s put up points at every level he’s played, but that isn’t to say that’s his mentality. Despite his offensive pedigree, he isn’t a liability in his own zone either, using his great vision and hockey sense to keep the plays coming and to help break up plays.
While not overly physical, Phillips isn’t one to shy away from contact and can use his frame to his advantage, both physically and by blocking shots. Despite this fact, he isn’t going to be the largest guy on the ice and sometimes tends to play like that as well, and will need to become more consistent in the physical aspects of the game in order to reach his full potential in the NHL.
The biggest concerns surrounding Phillips are his skating and his faceoff ability. He’s not the fleetest of foot and, at times, this is very apparent. His hockey sense can typically allow him to stay out of bad situations, but his feet can get him in trouble from time-to-time. As a center, he’ll be leaned upon to win face offs at times, and this is an area of his game that could stand to improve if he is to be a successful player in the NHL.
Right now, Phillips is playing in the Traverse City tournament with the Wild’s prospects and it looks like he would be set to either play in the AHL with Houston or head back to St. John’s for one more season.
From the looks of the Wild’s roster, however, I would say that Phillips could have an outside shot at impressing enough that he earns a job with the big squad.
The Wild are sorely lacking a second line center, and Phillips could fill that role if he’s ready. It’s a long shot and could be a bit of a gamble, but if Yeo and Fletcher agree that he’s ready, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see him wearing Iron Range Red on opening night.
Hockey’s Future has Phillips listed as a potential second-line forward, and I could see him improving upon that. He has all the tools to be a solid NHL player if he can improve his skating and, in my opinion, we could even have the chance to see him with the Wild this season if all goes right.
He’s young and he’s skilled, which means that he’ll be given every opportunity to succeed with the Wild, whether it’s this year or in a year or two.