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2021 Flames Top 25 Under 25: #12 – Matthew Phillips

Phillips finally made his NHL debut late in the year



#12 – Matthew Phillips

Position: Right Wing

Age: 23

2020-21 Team: Stockton Heat (AHL)

Stats: 30 GP, 8 G, 13 A, 21 Pts

Drafted in 2016, 6th Round, Pick 166

2020 Ranking: #11 (-1)

After weeks or perhaps even years of fans asking, the Calgary Flames finally got Matthew Phillips into some NHL action last year, dressing him in the final game of the regular season against the Vancouver Canucks. Phillips had a pretty respectable showing in that game but will have to fight for any NHL shot again this season.

With the Flames clearly loading up their roster with grizzled veteran forwards like Brad Richardson, Trevor Lewis, and Brett Ritchie, it’s pretty obvious the style of game that Darryl Sutter will be wanting to play this season. With that in mind, Matthew Phillips is likely on the outside looking in coming into training camp and will need to be at his absolute best to try and snag a spot on the roster. It is more than likely that Phillips will be in a battle to make the club, but the Flames will also have to consider that he will waiver eligible this year and could lose him for nothing if they attempt to send him to Stockton.

Phillips did have a pretty impressive season with the Heat last year, including setting up a number of gorgeous goals with his gifted playmaking ability. At times he simply looked too good to be in the AHL and with the Flames struggling to find any offensive spark, fans were ready to give him his shot, even if the team wasn’t.

It looks like we’ll be dealing with more of the same this season, and while Phillips is by no means a proven commodity in the NHL, I do find it hard to believe that at least one of the other 31 teams wouldn’t take a flyer on him if he were exposed to waivers. At this point though, much like with Oliver Kylington, Phillips deserves a shot and it may very well have to be elsewhere as the Flames seem intent to continue adding aging veterans over giving their drafted and developed guys a real chance.

Phillips will need to have the training camp of his life to blow the doors off Sutter and the team in order to stick around. It’s pretty easy to see that with his small stature that the odds will be stacked against him, even if he’s easily one of the Top 12 forwards (maybe even Top 9) in terms of raw skill. The Flames will regret it if they lose him as I get vibes very similar to waiving Paul Byron to keep Brandon Bollig. Bleh.

by Michael MacGillivray