Photo Credit: courtesy Calgary Flames/NHL Media

Flames sign Matthew Phillips to entry-level deal

In the waning hours of 2017, the Calgary Flames have taken care of a little bit of unfinished business. The club has announced that they have signed forward Matthew Phillips to a three-year entry-level contract. Terms of the deal aren’t immediately known, but it begins in the 2018-19 season.

Phillips, 19, was the Flames’ sixth round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft. He has been, quite simply, an offensive machine since entering the Western Hockey League full-time with the Victoria Royals in 2015-16.

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  • 76 points in 72 games as a rookie in 2015-16
  • 90 points in 70 games in 2016-17
  • 59 points in 39 games (so far) in 2017-18

Phillips is not a large person, listed generously at 5’7″ and 150 pounds. But the NHL is not a large man’s league as much anymore – the Flames roster currently features an undersized NHL scoring machine in Johnny Gaudreau and an undersized AHL scoring machine in Andrew Mangiapane. When market inefficiencies have handed Brad Treliving’s Flames assets in recent years, he’s been smart enough to say “thank you” and make the most of them. Signing Phillips, despite any concerns about his size, is another example of that. Worst-case, he’s an offensive option for Stockton next season.

As a previously unsigned 2016 pick, Phillips was one of two players the Flames could lose the rights to if they were unsigned by June 1, 2018 – the other being AHL blueliner Adam Ollas Mattsson.

  • oilcanboyd

    Great winning goal by Adam Fox as USA beat Finland with under 2 minutes to play in WJC. Strated the play from the baxk end! left side by passing the puck up the ice, then scooted down the righ side and got the pass from Middlestat to fird a shot from the slot through the five hole. Amazing speed! Need Fox signed too.

    • freethe flames

      Fox can only sign if he is leaving college. That would be great but I suspect he stays at least 1 more year.(If the Flames know that he is coming out at the end of the season then expect a move of one of the RHD prior to the trade deadline)

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Why is it people complain about his skating….his composure is amazing. I have yet to see him make a mistake. He is playing prime time for the same US coach this year that did not trust him in last year’s tournament. Valimaki has looked good but not as good as Fox in this tournament.

  • Alberta Ice

    So sad Phillips wasn’t at the WJC. He is making a strong statement by his offensive statistics in the WHL. Also saw the last 2 minutes of the WJC with Adam Fox impressing. Maybe we don’t need a first round draft pick this year; just keep the farm teams producing star talent for the future. Bring em up.

  • MontanaMan

    He’s a project – very small yet gifted. Very few players Phillips size make it to the NHL so he needs to be the total package or like many before him, he is destined for Europe. He will need to prove himself with the Heat and will likely need two or three years before he is considered a bonafide NHL prospect.

    • freethe flames

      At the end of the CHL season a number of these prospects will head to Stockton and hopefully help push that team forward. Phillips will sign a ATO contract so as not burn his entry level.

    • Stu Cazz

      Have to agree with you Montyman. Very small in stature. Observed MP in Penticton and during training camp. He really struggled and was easily pushed off the puck. Long term project. Wish him the best for sure as he is a great kid…..

  • oilcanboyd

    What happened with the Flames and Brayden Burke? He is tearing up the WHL with G18 A55 P73 in 36 games. He is 21 tomorrow…He is 5’10” and 170 lbs. A larger version of Phillips. Attitude problems? Off-ice problems? Lethbridge Hurricanes traded him last year to Moose Jaw saying his off-ice was a distraction.

  • Just.Visiting

    If the NHL wants to increase the entertainment value and scoring, they should look at allowing teams to dress one additional player. This makes room for an offensively gifted player like Phillips as a PP, OT shootout, special situations role if they weren’t otherwise going to be in the league because of size, for example.

  • Stockton's Finest

    Watched Phillips when he had a cup of coffee with the Heat last year. He looked a little lost, which should be expected. Huska trotted him out for a few of the end of season games and a few playoff games. I will need at least 2 full seasons in Stockton before he is ready.