Red Wings draft pick Ethan Phillips stands at 5’9″ and 146 pounds, but the Red Wings thought highly enough of the diminutive forward to pick him with the 97th overall pick in this year’s draft.
This morning, the Free Press’s Helene St. James discusses the winding developmental path that Phillips has taken thus far, as well as some of his future goals as he prepares to play for Boston College this fall:
Phillips produced 31 goals and 33 assists in 45 games in 2017-18 with the U16 Selects team. He entered the program in 2016.
“The whole development program they had there seemed to be the best spot for me,” Phillips said. “Playing against my own age group at the time made sense because I was very undersized. Having the skills coaches there, and the ice and gym is always there for you, was really big.
“I left because I went up to Sioux Falls in October and things went really well, I played four games and started talking with the coaches at Selects Academy and Sioux Falls to see if maybe it was the right move for me to jump to the USHL, especially with it being my draft year. I got a lot of support from the coaches at Selects – they want to move guys on, so they are happy to see that, that I have the opportunity.”
Phillips’ next move is to Boston University (also home to Wings prospects Kasper Kotkansalo and newcomer Robert Mastrosimone), where he’ll work on balancing hockey and an education. It’s an ideal path for a guy who at 5-foot-9 weighs just 145 pounds.
“It’s definitely not as much of a demanding schedule as some of the junior leagues where you’re playing 70, 80 games a year,” Phillips said. “You’re playing 40, 45 games a year in college and you’re not playing throughout the week. You get to take advantage of that time in the rink, in the gym; your body gets to recover more. That’s a big thing for me.”