Calgary Flames prospect Matthew Phillips lands on Daily Faceoff’s top 50 free agent list
Photo credit:Matt Garies / Arena du Rocket Inc.
By Ryan Pike3 months ago
Folks, we’re just a couple weeks away from the beginning of the National Hockey League’s free agent season. As teams jostle to get themselves ready, our pals at Daily Faceoff have updated their top 50 free agents list… and Calgary Flames prospect Matthew Phillips is on the list at #49.
The 25-year-old Phillips was a sixth-round selection of the Flames back in 2016. Since being drafted, he’s been really good. In five seasons in the Flames’ farm system – with the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat and Calgary Wranglers – he’s scored 103 goals and 237 points over 265 games. He was named to the AHL first all-star team for 2022-23 after finishing as one of the league’s leading scorers.
But Phillips’ scoring prowess in the AHL hasn’t resulted in many NHL opportunities; he’s dressed for just three games – one in the doomed 2020-21 season and two in 2022-23 – and the general vibe is that he just didn’t get a great chance at cementing himself on the NHL roster under the prior regime. He’s slated to become a Group 6 unrestricted free agent on July 1 because he hasn’t played enough NHL games to remain a restricted free agent.
But the regime change in Calgary could convince Phillips to stick around. New head coach Ryan Huska coached the AHL club before being promoted to the NHL bench, and while he only had Phillips for a few games in 2016-17, he’s definitely aware of what he can do. And new general manager Craig Conroy was deeply involved in scouting and drafting Phillips, being credited by many around the club as someone who pushed for the Flames to take a gamble on him in the sixth round.
If Phillips hits free agency, he’ll have some options. He’s small, but his AHL numbers simply can’t be denied, and he’s earned himself a chance to push for an NHL gig. Will that be with the Flames? The next few weeks will tell that tale.
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