The Chicago Blackhawks continue to sign more young prospects, with their latest being Canadian defenseman Isaak Phillips, who was drafted by the Blackhawks in the 2020 NHL Draft, going in fifth round with 141st overall pick.
The Blackhawks signed the young 19-year-old to an entry-level contract that runs through the 2022-23 season.
Looking back at Phillips’ journey to his first professional hockey contract, the Barrie native got his start playing for the Stouffville Spirit of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL). From there, he spent the next two seasons playing for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL
Junior Hockey Career
Phillips began his junior hockey career playing in the OJHL for the Stouffville Spirit as a 15-year-old, scoring three goals, recording eight assists for a total of 11 points in 52 games.
As one of the youngest players on his team, Phillips finished in the top 10 in assists on his team among his older teammates.
After spending just one year playing in the OJHL, Phillips entered the 2017 OHL Draft where the Sudbury Wolves drafted him in the fourth round with the 80th overall pick.
In his first season playing with the Wolves, Phillips appeared in 68 games and went on score three goals while adding 11 assists, for a total of 14 points to finish off his 2018-19 season in the OHL.
The Wolves went on to qualify for the 2019 OHL playoffs where they swept the Mississauga Steelheads in four games, to only themselves be swept in the second round at the hands of the Ottawa 67’s.
In Phillips’ second season in the OHL, he showed improvement in his game, scoring nine goals and recording 17 assists, for a total of 26 points, concluding his junior hockey career. From there, Phillips went on to get drafted by the Blackhawks and begin his AHL career with the Rockford IceHogs.
The 6-foot-3 defenseman
Phillips currently sits in second goals, assists, and points by a defenseman on the IceHogs, sitting behind veteran Cody Franson.
When Phillips received the news that the Blackhawks were going to sign him to a professional contract, the 19-year-old said the first person he called was his parents.
“I called my mom and then everyone would be home so I told her to put it on speaker and then I just told her the good news and then obviously they were through the roof,” said Phillips during a media session with the IceHogs.
After Phillips’ three-year deal is up with the Blackhawks in 2023-24 season, he will become a restricted free agent in the 2024-25 season. If he progresses well over these next three years, we should expect Chicago to extend his contract.
What Does Phillips Bring to the Blackhawks?
While the Blackhawks have a boatload of young offensive prospects on their team already, it’s good to see that this organization is also making moves on the defensive end of their game.
Phillips is also one of those young prospects that has the ability to make an impact on a team instantly, as he has on the IceHogs.
“I think for me coming in I was obviously pretty confident in my size and my skating ability that I could play at this level. I knew it was going to be a bit of an adjustment, but I was never doubting myself for anything. I remember talking to my family before even I before I come down here, I said I was going to come back with (an) NHL contract and that’s happened so I couldn’t be more happy,” said Phillips during a media session with IceHogs after signing his first professional contract.
Phillips is also one of the
Obviously, Phillips still needs some time to develop as a 19-year-old and will likely spend a great amount of time in the AHL for the time being. However, he has the potential to be a solid defenseman for the Blackhawks in the future
Nimrit Singh is currently finishing up his fourth-year at Humber College in the Bachelor of Journalism program and covers the Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers.