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.
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.