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2022 FlamesNation Prospect Rankings: #7 Matthew Phillips

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Photo credit:Graphic by Mike Gould
Mike Gould
3 months ago
Matthew Phillips may already be 24 years old, but we still believe he has the ability to be a legitimately impactful player in the National Hockey League if given the opportunity.
With 31 goals and 68 points in 65 games last season, Phillips set new Stockton Heat records in practically every offensive category and finished as one of the AHL’s top players at any position. He was instrumental in the Heat winning two playoff rounds.
Phillips is one of the older prospects on this list, but he’s also one of the better ones.
Matthew Phillips
Right wing
Born Apr. 6, 1998 (age 24) in Calgary, Alberta
5’8”, 165 pounds
Selected in the sixth round (No. 166 overall) by CGY in 2016
In a league typically dominated by veterans, Phillips was the highest-scoring AHL player still eligible for the Calder Trophy last season. The eight players ahead of him on the league scoring leaderboard were all 26 or older, while Phillips was 23 for all but the final three weeks of the regular season.
Phillips was absolutely dominant in North America’s second-best league last year and likely would’ve seen some more NHL games if the Flames hadn’t been the league’s healthiest team (even their COVID outbreak affected practically the entire team at once, meaning the Flames were fully healthy again by the time they were ready to resume play).
Jakob Pelletier and Phillips combined to form a lethal duo on Stockton’s top line. Both players played off each other very effectively and they remained together throughout the season.
Phillips and Pelletier are pretty similar in a lot of ways. Both are undersized players who play like they’re six inches taller with relentless energy, speed, and fearlessness.
Stockton Heat Calgary Wranglers head coach Mitch Love had all positive things to say about Phillips in conversation with FlamesNation:
He’s a competitor. You look at his size and you maybe underestimate his ability in terms of getting things done, but he finds a way. He’s so intelligent, he wants to be a difference-maker. I saw a lot of growth in his leadership. He was a fourth-year pro last year with the organization, he was really good for our young players, puts a lot of work into his craft. It’s really hard for me to find anything in his game, in his day-to-day pro life that you can critique. He’s a type of guy that you want on your team, he’s a type of guy you want to coach. We’re excited to have him back again and again, hopefully he has a good strong training camp with the Flames and pushes for games there.
Unless Phillips comes into training camp and completely blows the doors off the competition (like Oliver Kylington one year ago), it’s unlikely he’ll start the season with the Flames. Head coach Darryl Sutter is typically one to deploy a veteran-laden fourth line, and the Flames are pretty flush with top-nine wingers as the roster is currently constructed.
If this isn’t the year for Phillips, he may never stick with the Flames. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer unless he plays 79 games with the Flames this year, which is pretty unlikely at this point. It’s not hard to imagine Phillips electing to leave for a team with less depth on the wings where he could get a chance to stick in the NHL.
Phillips should’ve gotten a longer look with the Flames down the stretch in 2020–21 (especially when Brett Ritchie was on the top line), but it’d be hard to fault the Flames if they go with what they have now. Jonathan Huberdeau, Andrew Mangiapane, Blake Coleman, Tyler Toffoli, Dillon Dube, and Pelletier is a pretty good group of top-nine wingers.
But, even if he doesn’t make it in Calgary, we still feel Phillips has the potential to become a secondary scoring piece in the NHL. He’s already proven he can be one of the very best players in the AHL. He has very little left to prove down there, and it’d be a shame if he never got a shot with an NHL team.

2022 FlamesNation Prospect Rankings

The no-votes | Missed the cut | #20 Ben Jones | #19 Walker Duehr | #18 Ilya Nikolaev | #17 Ilya Solovyov | #16 William Strömgren | #15 Arsenii Sergeev | #14 Emilio Pettersen | #13 Topi Rönni | #12 Martin Pospisil | #11 Yan Kuznetsov | #10 Cole Schwindt | #9 Jack Beck | #8 Jeremie Poirier | #7 Matthew Phillips

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