Both the Free Press’s Helene St. James and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan penned profiles of Red Wings draft pick Ethan Phillips, Detroit’s 97th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Phillips isn’t big at 5’9,” but the skinny Boston University-committed forward intrigued the Wings’ scouting staff.
Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright had this to say to the Free Press’s St. James…
“He’s undersized, but he’s a very fast skater,” chief amateur scout Tyler Wright said. “He’s got very good hockey sense. He’s got very good skill. At the value of where he was at — he’s going to college, so he’ll have a little more time to develop.
“If you look at the NHL, there are more and more smaller players playing. But you have to be fast, you have to have skill, and he fit all those.”
Like sixth-overall pick Moritz Seider, Phillips, too, had an inkling the Wings were interested after a positive interaction at the combine.
“I felt like I had a really good interview with them at the combine and a good connection,” Phillips said. “It wasn’t just a one-way conversation where they are asking questions. It was a back-and-forth conversation, not just about hockey. I was able to make some connections and kind of get to know them, too.”
According to the Detroit News’s Kulfan, Phillips’ billet family in Halifax, Nova Scotia was the same that hosted Devils draft pick Nico Hischier and Wings prospect Filip Zadina:
“It was really cool the last two drafts to go with Zadina and Hischier,” Phillips said. “I wasn’t in the same position as them, but now to be in their shoes (and getting drafted), it’s pretty cool. You never know when you’re going to get picked. When the pick comes across, you cross your fingers hoping it’s you. When it comes, it’s like a weight is lifted off your shoulders. It’s a good feeling.”
Phillips has a good relationship with Zadina, one of the more exciting players in the Red Wings’ organization.
“I got to know him pretty well,” Phillips said. “I’m sure he’s pretty happy for me right now. I’m excited to see him (next week at development camp) and talk to him.”
Phillips is a project, as any player drafted that late would be. Headed to Boston University in the fall — with another Red Wings’ draftee, second-rounder Sam Mastrosimone — Phillips has to gain considerable strength to get a professional look.
Phillips is only 5-foot-9, 145-pounds, although he does possess fine puck-handling skills and has offensive sills.