The Next Ones – Zack Phillips – 2011 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Lucky Number Seven

Please “Click Here” for “Notes Up Front” and the “Legend” for various topics covered below in my “Live Updated” NHL 2011 Draft Preview article.

Zack Phillips

Date of Birth: October 28, 1992
Hometown: Fredericton, NB, CAN
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 178
Shoots: Right
Position: Center/Winger

NHL Draft Eligibility: 2011

Zack Phillips (Aaron Bell/CHL Images)


One Timer:

The top line center for the Memorial Cup Champions Saint John Sea Dogs increased his production from his rookie season by an impressive 51 points in his sophomore season.  Scouts are often skeptical of dramatic increases like Phillips’ but he is not alone.  Teammate and projected top-ten forward, Jonathon Huberdeau, experienced a jump in production from 35 points to a 105 points which was third among QMJHL players.  There is little doubt that Phillips benefitted statistically from playing with Huberdeau this past season but the lanky center was also critical in Huberdeau’s success as well.

Praised for his elite hockey sense and soft hands, Phillips has the ability to make his linemates better but has the scoring instincts, pro calibre shot and the knack for finding open space to make him one of the more dangerous snipers of his draft class.  The gritty hard-working centerman plays in the dirty areas of the rink and as he fills out his 6-foot-1 inch frame he will surely become even more dangerous in these areas.

The biggest knock on Phillips’ game is that he does not possess great skating abilities.  Average speed.  Average footwork.  Phillips’ skating isn’t bad enough to prevent a team from drafting him and with his good goal scoring abilities and strong two-way play teams won’t be placing too much of an emphasis on his lackluster skating ability. As Corey Perry has proved, skating isn’t the end-all-be-all especially when a prospect owns rare skills like Phillips does.

Ranked fifteenth among North American Skaters, Zack Phillips has a great chance at becoming a first round selection and joining nine other draft-eligible Saint John Sea Dogs as new NHL prospects.

Top Prospects Game:

Zack Phillips played for Team Orr at the 2011 CHL Home Hardware Top Prospects Game and had a tremendous game recording a goal and two assists in his team’s 7-1 win.


Scout’s Honour:

-Saint John Sea Dogs’ Head Coach Gerard Gallant,

“Zack has great vision and is strong on the puck. He’s a solid center and has come a long way in a short time. He kind of reminds me of an Adam Oates-type of player … he’s strong on the puck down low and in the corners and has nifty hands”

Alex Arsenault of The Scouting Report,

“Typically, scorers like Phillips can be a liability in their own end due to only thinking about offense but Phillips plays hard in the defensive zone. He is not afraid to use his 6’1 and 181 frame to make a hit or block a shot and coach Gerard Gallant has used him to kill penalties. Phillips could ,however, stand to improve his faceoff ability.  An underrated part of his game is his playmaking. He sees the ice very well and is a good passer. He makes everyone around him better by giving them solid passes. It keeps the defense and especially goalies honest when they can’t over commit on the shot because he will burn them with a pass.”

– THN’s Ryan Kennedy,

“Another high-end, offensively gifted member of the Sea Dogs, Phillips is enjoying a breakout season in the ‘Q’ with 27 goals and 62 points in 43 games, not to mention a stellar plus-31 rating. He has good size at 6-foot-1, 186 pounds and was held off the scoresheet just once in 11 December contests.”

Hockey’s Future Prospect Profile,

A cerebral offensive forward, Phillips is primarily a playmaker but is no slouch when it comes to putting the puck in the net either. Blessed with great on ice vision and loads of hockey sense, his ability to anticipate the play cannot be understated.

Kirk Luedeke of B2011DW,

“The biggest knock on Phillips is his lack of speed and explosiveness, but the NHL is full of guys who don’t have the most dynamic skating ability. Where he compensates is with his hands and elite hockey sense- Phillips may be the most opportunistic scorer of any prospect in this entire class. He drives the net honestly and often times finds results.”

–’s 2011 NHL Draft Guide


Yahoo! Sports  – Draft tracker:  5 questions with Zack Phillips, Saint John Sea Dogs

Andy Strickland- Featuring St. John Forward Zack Phillips

The Hockey News –  2011 NHL Draft Mid-Season Top 10 Rankings

International Tournaments:

Zack Phillips has yet to represent his country internationally.

ETA: 3 years

Risk-Reward Analysis:

Risk: 2.0/5 Reward: 3.5/5

NHL Potential:

Second or Third Line Winger (suited better to play wing at the next level)


*See “One Timer” section above

– Excellent Hockey IQ and vision

– NHL calibre shot

– Ability to work in tight spaces

– Strong Puckhandling Skills

– Defensively Responsible

Flaws/Aspects He Needs to Work On:

– Improve on his average foot speed and overall mobility

– Improve his faceoff percentage

– Continue to add bulk to his frame

Fantasy Hockey Potential:

Offensive: 8.0/10 Defensive: 7.0/10

NHL Player Comparison:

Patrice Bergeron, Patrick Sharp


The Hockey News:  Video:  One-on-one with Saint John Sea Dogs right winger

Off the Iron (Interesting Notes):

– Phillips is one of nine Saint John Sea Dogs players who is ranked on the NHL Central Scouting list.

– Zack wears jersey number seven to honour his father and grandfather who both wore the number.

– Phillips left home at the young age of 13 to attend Eaglebrook School in Massachusetts and later attended Lawrence Academy where he led his team in scoring (19G-29A-48P)

Brendan Ross is THW’s Detroit Red Wings’ writer and also specializes in prospect and fantasy writings. Twitter: @rossyyoungblood

THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph

This document is the intellectual property of Brendan Ross and cannot be used or duplicated in any way without expressed written consent. Any use of this document without the expressed written consent of Brendan Ross will result in public exposure and legal prosecution.