Our annual Top 25 Under 25 countdown has begun! The rankings were determined by a combination of reader voting and our staff’s own voting. We then combined the reader rankings (50%) and the staff rankings (50%) to determine the top 25. To be eligible for the countdown, a player must be 24 or younger on October 3, 2018, when the 2018-19 NHL season begins.
We’re taking a look at the best and the brightest in the Los Angeles Kings organization in our sixth annual Top 25 Under 25 countdown. Kicking things off at #25 is Markus Phillips.
Age: 19 (March 21, 1999)
2017-18 Team: Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
2017-18 Statistics: 68 GP, 10 G, 29 A, 39 P (Playoffs: 10 GP, 0 G, 3 A)
Jewels Reader Ranking: Not Ranked
Jewels Staff Ranking: 19
Last Year’s Ranking: 14
Markus Phillips makes his second entry onto our Top 25 list, though he’s slipped quite a bit since last season. The drop in rankings may have something to do with more NHL-ready prospects joining the Kings system, but it may also be because of the slight drop off in points for Phillips; his 2016-17 season saw him record 43 total points compared to 39 last year.
Phillips considers himself a two-way defenseman and counts Drew Doughty as one of his top role models as a defenseman. Being a smooth-skating defenseman who’s known for his skill at making passes certainly will help him keep the attention of the Kings organization as he ages. And while he’s never been thought of as a purely offensive player — puck distribution is more his style — he does show some skill with putting the puck in the net.
He is on Hockey Canada’s radar, playing in this year’s World Juniors Summer Showcase, where he got into two games. With high competition on Canada’s blue line for the 2019 tournament, Phillips making the final squad may be a long shot, but the recognition shows his hard work has not gone unnoticed.
Phillips is set to return to the Owen Sound Attack for his fourth season. He’s taken on a leadership role there, wearing an A last year. As one of the team’s more senior players, Phillips will continue to be counted on to play in all situations, which will help him continue to develop his two-way game. He’s universally described as an incredibly strong skater, which will be a huge asset as he prepares to make the transition to professional hockey after his juniors career is complete.