How far will the Rangers get this season?

Possible First Round Pick: Zack Phillips

Zack Phillips (in black)

Zack Phillips (in black)

The Rangers currently have five defensemen under the age of 28 on their roster and two more top prospects on the way, so it’s very likely New York will be looking to add some offensive firepower with its first-round pick, No. 15 overall in the NHL Draft.

Between now and June 24th, we’ll take a look at some of the forwards that the Rangers might be thinking about taking on draft day.  Today, we look at…

Zack Phillips

HT: 6-1

WT: 181

Pos: C

Shoots: R

Birthday: 10/28/92

Team: Saint John, QMJHL

2009-2010 stats: 16g, 28a, 65gp, 31PIM

2010-2011 stats: 38g, 57a, 67gp, 16PIM

2010-2011 playoffs: 8g, 14a, 16gp, 8PIM profile >



The Hockey News: 9

CSS: 15 Midterm Rank: 12

ISS: 29 

TSN: 28 Midterm Rank: 32 

TSN (Craig Button): 15

The Scouting Report: 26 Midterm Rank: 34

Bruins 2011 Draft Watch: 24

Corey Pronman: 24

ESPN: 22


Highlight Reel >


What they’re saying:

THN – “An increase of 50 points over last season has vaulted Phillips to the top 10 on many lists.  The one facet scouts believe is keeping him out of the top three is his skating.  ‘He’s a gifted offensive player, but his skating is not that good,’ one scout said.  ‘That’s the risk with him.  His first couple steps aren’t very good.’  The skating issue makes Phillips an easy target for criticism, but scouts also acknowledge it’s difficult to be too critical of a player who puts up the numbers he did.  ‘There are some guys where you’re looking for something wrong with them,’ another scout said.  ‘Then you look at the scoresheet and you realize there has to be something right with them.’  ‘He reminds me a lot of a Jarret Stoll type of guy,’ another scout said.  ‘Everybody knocks his skating, but all he does is keep putting up points.  He can score goals and he has a great shot.’

The Scouting Report – "Phillips made some major strides forward in his game this season and we think he’s done enough to be included in our Top 30 prospects. He doesn’t have an overly defining quality to his game, but he’s a crafty offensive player who always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Skating isn’t great, but it isn’t horrible; albeit something that needs to improve for him to make the jump. While Phillips seems to be a guy that a lot of people feel might not be able to find a role at the next level, we liken him a bit to a guy like Brett MacLean who, even with some weaknesses in his game, seems to have enough of everything to overcome them." 

Bruins 2011 Draft Watch – "This scoring stud lost some effectiveness down the stretch with a shoulder injury he suffered in the President's Cup final series against Gatineau. As such he hasn't been able to shine as brightly in the Memorial Cup as he did during the regular season when he and linemates Jonathan Huberdeau and Michael Kirkpatrick destroyed opposing defenses and netminders. 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. One of the questions scouts have is whether Phillips can do it on a team without the pure talent and depth he has surrounding him in St. John. We think he'll do it no matter who he's with, whether at the center position or on the wing at the next level. He was the ninth-ranked player in THN's draft issue and while we feel that is a bit high, we could see how an NHL team in need for some legit scoring chops might have him as a solid top-15 pick this year."

Corey Pronman - "After playing alongside top draft eligible prospect Jonathan Huberdeau for most of the season, Zach Phillips put up impressive counting numbers. If you want a player with flash, Phillips is anything but that, however the late '92 birthdate does have a couple of notable tools that have made scouts notice him. His hockey sense is above-average which is evident in how he consistently anticipates the flow of the play. Once he senses his team is about to gain possession of the play, he jettisons into an open lane to receive a pass and get the puck up the ice, yet is responsible defensively, works hard in that aspect and in viewings of Phillips he showed very effective penalty killing. That work ethic is apparent in the offensive size too as despite his frame that significantly lacks muscle he goes to the physical areas consistently. He's a solid distributor and on the power play will occasionally flash above-average in that regard. Zach's a solid to above-average finisher with good accuracy on his wrist shot. The major issues with Philips which is going to really hamper his pro potential are his fringe skating and his body. He has heavy feet and despite a decent first step, the tool really lacks pro-level qualities. While Phillips did succeed at going to the net at the Junior level, he has a ton of gym work ahead of him before he'll be ready to do it at the NHL level. While he frequently lined up at center in the QMJHL this year, he projects as a winger and I've seen him be effective as a left wing."

True Hockey – “He is described by many as a smooth skating player who has strong finishing abilities, but can also create opportunities for his linemates. He is not overly sizeable at 6-feet and 180 pounds, but will grow into his frame and top out closer to the 200-pound mark.” 


Mock Drafts:

Adam Kimelman, – 16 

Mike Morreale, – N/A 

Steven Hoffner, – 17 

Deven Persaud, - 17 – 13 

Gary Joyce, ESPN - 27

Mark Seidel, CBC - N/A

Hockey's Future - 17

The Hockey News - 13


Thoughts: Phillips certainly sounds like he has goal scoring ability, but the negative comments about his skating are giant red flags.  The Rangers are desperately in need of a dynamic offensive player, and Phillips may have the capability.  However, New York typically shies away from players with fundamental knocks on them in the first round. 

The Rangers haven’t used a first-round selection on a QMJHL player since 1977 and haven’t drafted anyone from the league since Chris Doyle in 2008.

Posted by Kevin Baumer | May 10, 2011 at 03:14 pm

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