With the 166th overall selection, the Calgary Flames drafted Victoria Royals forward Matthew Phillips.
The diminutive winger, who is a Calgary native, collected WHL Rookie of the Year honours after accruing 37 goals and 76 points in 72 games. In the playoffs, Phillips scored five goals and registered eight points in 13 contests.
"I have to say I didn’t see him play this year. That was all Craig Conroy and our two Western scouts and they loved him," Flames director of amateur scouting Tod Button said. "A guy with a lot of skill, a smaller guy, but that’s worked out for us before. So we’re not going to stop trying to find those guys whenever we can in the draft. "
Here is what scouts had to say about Phillips:
FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS - RANKED 135TH OVERALL
Phillips is a tiny, but intelligent playmaker with elite offensive capability. He processes the speed of the game very well and operates well when in motion. He is a quick, shifty skater who brings agility, acceleration and the power to escape a check in a blink. He is a very patient player with skilled mitts who is great at anticipating plays and adjusting to produce a better vantage point. Phillips can handle the puck at speed and in traffic. He has a good feel for the type of play he needs to make and adjusts his velocity on his passes to find his teammate’s stick. He has a quick release on his shot and is pin-point accurate with his snipes. Phillips has nice finish around the net, and knows how to beat goaltenders and opposing defencemen with skill and smarts. Phillips forgoes high-risk individual play to work with teammates, unlike what you see from some highly skill forwards. His play away from the puck is a lot less desirable as he can be wiped out of a play if he doesn’t have his feet moving constantly. Phillips’ play in the defensive end features some good support, but due to his lack of size and strength, he has difficulty when engaging opponents. His speed combines exceptionally well with his offensive hockey sense, and he’s got a real knack for creating opportunities with his skilled playmaking ability for himself and his linemates. He makes those who share the ice with him better players.
NHL Potential: Top six playmaking centre
RED LINE REPORT - RANKED 84TH OVERALL
So tiny he could be Snow White’s long-lost 8th dwarf - makes Johnny Gaudreau look like a giant. Knows he’s the smallest guy on the ice, but ignores it and instead adjusts his game accordingly. Causes problems for defenders due to his determination with the puck - dangerous every shift. Tremendous work ethic and won’t stop until the whistle blows. Very quick and plays bigger than his frame. Will put his head down and skate to net, constantly going to greasy areas. Elusive and skates himself out of danger. Uses speed to beat anybody in a puck race along the boards. Fearless centre is hard to ignore, but will need to grow considerably to compete at next level. Durable despite his size. Rookie-of-the-Year with 37 goals and 76 points while never missing a game. Easily a 1st rount talent without size concerns.
NHL Potential: Ultra skilled 2nd line scorer
Style Compares To: Mats Zuccarello/Cam Atkinson