With the short break for teams following the Stanley Cup nearing completion, teams have regrouped in their respective cities and started making roster decisions for next year. Teams are assessing needs to be filled during free agency and the NHL entry draft which will be held on Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia. The Minnesota Wild will look to continue its hot draft streak that has restocked the team and turned it into a true Cup contender. One talented forward and former product of the draft not yet with the Minnesota Wild is Zack Phillips.
Phillips was the 28th overall selection in the 2011 NHL Draft, the same draft in which the Wild chose Jonas Brodin 10th overall. The dynamic forward was chosen after tearing apart the QMJHL with the Saint John Sea Dogs. He played on a line with current Wild winger Charlie Coyle and collected 219 points in just three seasons.
While he hasn’t experienced the same level of dominance in the AHL as he did in Canadian juniors, Phillips has still done his job in producing points. In 2013-14, he led the Iowa Wild in points by scoring 12 goals and bagging assists in 76 games. That may not be the monster numbers that one expects from a top forward on any team, but Phillips had to deal with missing the likes of Coyle and Mikael Granlund who played part of last season in the minors.
Phillips is blessed with a wonderful knowledge of the game and the ice. His ability to know where everyone on the ice is and will be serves him well as one of the primary playmakers on the Iowa Wild. He isn’t particularly large at 6’1 and 181 pounds, but his ability to slip contact allows him to make plays. His shooting ability is underrated, but he definitely has a pass-first mentality.
Zack Phillips is another talented minor league forward that could be the victim of numbers. With the Minnesota Wild brimming with talented youngsters, Phillips may just never get his chance to play with the big club. In that case, he could be great trade bait if the Minnesota Wild wants to grab a player for the stretch run at the trade deadline similar to what they did this year by acquiring Matt Moulson.
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