Flames select Matthew Phillips at 166th overall

With their second pick of the sixth round, the Calgary Flames have gone back to the Western Hockey League. Perhaps they have a bit of inside intelligence from head coach Dave Lowry – rumoured to be up for an associate coach spot with the Flames – but the Flames nabbed pint-sized sniper Matthew Phillips at 166th overall.

For those scoring at home, this is the pick they obtained in the David Jones/Niklas Backstrom swap at the trade deadline.

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What can we say about Phillips? Well, he’s not big (5’7″ and 160 pounds) but he’s local (from Calgary), and he is pure offense. As a rookie in the Western Hockey League he had 76 points in 72 games and he was one of the players that Lowry relied upon the most during the season. He’s fast and creative, and perhaps a bit too reliant on needing time and space to generate offense (but a lot of creative players are like that).

He was the WHL’s Rookie of the Year this past season, and was ranked 81st among North American skaters by Central Scouting and 135th by Future Considerations (who said he has “elite offensive ability”). He’s barely 18. He’s a right-shooting center. At every level he’s played in (midget, bantam, the WHL) he’s managed to create points despite being smaller than the other kids. He could be a Western Canadian version of Johnny Gaudreau.

He’s excellent value at 166th overall.

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  • Victoria Flames Fan

    Quickly has become a fan favourite, not just because of his name ( (Matt) Phillips Beer is a great local mirco-brew). Was second in team goal scoring with 37 (behind Tyler Soy’s 46). Has the “too small to make the NHL” label but man, he’s got great hands.

  • FlamesFan1489

    I didn’t realize there was a guy under 6’0 200 on Lowry’s Royas squad. That team straight up bullied the Hitmen in our home game against them this year. I like this pick.

    • DangleSnipeCelly

      You must not watch many Royals games… one of the smaller teams in the Dub. In fact Phillips isn’t even the shortest guy on the team.

      Dante Hannoun is 5’5″

      Matthew Phillips is an outstanding pick – this made the draft for me. Love watching this dude. Tremendous skill, tremendous character…

  • Baalzamon

    The Flames’ Riley Bruce of this draft is Stepan Falkovsky, a 6’7″ Belarusian defenseman passed over last year.

    Hilariously, his results as a 19 year old in the OHL were better than Kanzig’s as a 21 year old in the WHL. That Kanzig pick continues to look… bad.

  • Baalzamon

    All in all, I have to say I’m fairly happy with this draft class. It’s not overtly spectacular like last year’s, but it does look better than the 2014 class (Sam Bennett notwithstanding).

    Phillips, Fox, and Lindstrom strike me as the value picks (maybe Tuulola as well), with Tkachuk and Parsons (and arguably Dube) pretty much going where they should have (though I would have liked Abramov in place of Dube).

    The Falkovsky pick is a lot like when the Canucks picked Nikita Tryamkin in 2014, except he’s only been passed over once (Tryamkin was passed over twice) and was picked in the seventh round, not the third.

    Edit- I’m a little surprised the Flames didn’t spring for Tomas Soustal in the seventh round; and I’m pleased they passed on Conner Bleackley at every opportunity.

      • SmellOfVictory

        Although it’s nice to see homerun picks taken early in the 1st, lest we forget that the Oilers had a run of insanely good 1st round picks yet a crap prospect pool for a while because they couldn’t draft their way out of a paper bag in the other rounds. 2nd-7th rounds are still pretty important.

        • Burnward

          Of course.

          But Tkachuk alongside Bennett solves a lot of problems. And makes a lot for whoever has to play against those two fiery sunsaguns!

          That’s going to be fun to watch.

          • Oyo

            I would almost rather see Bennett play with Johnny and have the hyper skilled first line and then Mony play the second line with Tkachuk and have Matt feed him in front of the net all day long.

            Gives us two lines with tenancity and having the strong play driving winger on opposite sides.

            That would be interesting to see as well.

            And please no to Lucic. As much as he would be awesome to have for this year, in a few years time he and his contract will be a burden because he is not signing for anything less than 4 years.

  • Baalzamon

    For anyone keeping score, that’s four drafts in a row with the Flames taking a big defensive defenseman.

    2013: Kanzig

    2014: Ollas Mattsson

    2015: Bruce

    2016: Falkovsky

    • McRib

      I mean at least we seem to have learned our lesson with Kanzig in the sense that we now keep big “project” Defenseman picks to the back end of the draft (6-7th Rounds), also for the record Falkovsky seems to be the most skilled of anyone else on this list as well.

  • McRib

    Only CHL Rookies with more PPG this year than Matthew Phillips this season… Vitali Abramov and Alex Nylander. I actually see some similarities in his game to Gaudreau (obviously has a long way to go for this comparable), where opponents really have a hard time reading what direction he is headed in the neutral zone. Best statistics this year for Phillips is that he played in all 72 Games this season with the Royals, suggesting the Hockey IQ needed to make it to the NHL being someone of short staturer, obviously he has proven that he can stay out of the harms way. I watched him a couple of times this season and was actually surprised with his willingness to go in corners and he does have a knack of bouncing off contact much like Gaudreau as well, honestly this kid has homerun upside for me.