Matthew Phillips is pretty good at ice hockey.
A sixth round selection by the Calgary Flames in the most recent NHL Draft, Phillips has been a very productive player in the Western Hockey League this season. With three games left on the schedule, Phillips has scored 48 goals and has a decent chance at hitting the rarefied air of the 50 goal mark.
Over the past five seasons, the 50 goal mark has been hit 10 times by nine players:
- Dryden Hunt, 58 goals (as an overager) in 2015-16
- Oliver Bjorkstrand, 63 goals (as a 19-year-old) in 2014-15 and 50 goals (as an 18-year-old) in 2013-14
- Cole Sanford, 50 goals (as a 19-year-old) in 2014-15
- Mitch Holmberg, 62 goals (as an overager) in 2013-14
- Todd Fiddler, 50 goals (as an overager) in 2013-14
- Emerson Etem, 61 goals (as a 19-year-old) in 2011-12
- Brendan Shinnimin, 58 goals (as an overager) in 2011-12
- Ty Rattie, 57 goals (as an 18-year-old) in 2011-12
- Adam Hughesman, 50 goals (as an overager) in 2011-12
Phillips was born in 1998, so this is considered his 18-year-old season. Only two players in their 18-year-old seasons have hit 50 goals: Bjorkstrand and Rattie.
This season, Tyler Steenbergen – who’s about three months older than Phillips – is the first WHL player to hit 50 goals. He isn’t in the overall points race, though, as he only has 36 assists for 86 total points. Tyler Wong has 49 goals, while Sam Steel is tied with Phillips with 48.
The last Flames draft pick to score 50 goals in the WHL was 2009 pick Ryan Howse, who scored scored 51 in his 19-year-old season with the Chilliwack Bruins (technically the same franchise as the Victoria Royals).
Victoria plays the Vancouver Giants on Tuesday and then finishes off their schedule with a pair of games against Eetu Tuulola and the Everett Silvertips on Saturday and Sunday.