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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Zack Phillips: A guy you should know

New Brunswick native Zack Phillips spent the '08-09 season at Lawrence Academy at 15-16 yrs. old, but jumped up to the QMJHL last year, playing pretty well at a higher level (16 goals, 44 points).

Now, the Oct. '92 birthdate has a chance to elevate his draft stock enough to be a top-60 selection in June playing on the high-powered Saint John Sea Dogs along with fellow high-end draft hopefuls Tomas Jurco, Jonathan Huberdeau , Ryan Tesink and defenseman Nathan Beaulieu.

He's got a nice shot and good puck skills, but makes his bones playing with hustle and energy and by going hard to the net. His size isn't great (6-0, 180) but he's strong and well conditioned. He reminds me a little bit of Jared Knight in terms of style and substance and because he's a junior center who is more likely to play wing at the next level.

Phillips is off to a pretty good start this season with four goals in his first six games, and I think that you'll see him gain some traction in draft discussions as the season progresses even on a team as loaded as Saint John is.

He gained some valuable experience in his team's run to the Quebec league finals last spring, and that club looks formidable again. Phillips could make that jump from an intriguing player to scouts last season to one who will be a priority view along with Jurco and Huberdeau.

Phillips is still rounding out his game and learning how to be more assertive in certain situations, but at least in the early going, I'm hearing very good things about him. He's someone to keep an eye on this season, especially with his New England background-- you can bet that the Bruins got some good looks at him when he was with Lawrence two years ago and have kept tabs on him as he returned to the Maritimes.

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