The Athletic’s Max Bultman posted a superb profile of Red Wings draft pick Ethan Phillips, who was selected with the 97th overall pick in Vancouver this past weekend. Phillips is all of 5’9″ and 146 pounds, but the plucky forward believes that he can buck the odds–as do the Red Wings:
No draftee is guaranteed a path to NHL, and while the fourth round still annually yields players to hockey’s highest level, making it from that draft slot can require every bit of that focus, preparation and businesslike approach Owens cited.
With the way the modern game has evolved to accommodate smaller players, making the most of those traits — plus a healthy bit of work in the gym — could go a long way toward letting his skill shine through.
“He’s undersized but he’s a very fast skater, he’s got very good hockey sense, he’s got very good skill,” Red Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright said. “We just thought at the value of where he was at — he’s going to go to college, we’ve got a little bit more time to develop him with going to college for four years. He’s gotta get stronger, obviously. I hope he grows, but that’s not really — I mean, I think if you look at the National Hockey League, I think there’s more and more small players playing, but you’ve gotta be fast, you’ve gotta be quick, you’ve gotta have skill. He fit all those bills for us, and that’s why we took him.”