When the Washington Capitals announced their opening night roster, it was one name that made fans happier than others. Matthew Phillips has been impressive for the Capitals during the pre-season.
He’s featured in five games and has racked up three points (two goals and one assist). The 25-year-old forward scored a goal that quickly made the rounds on social media because of how he quite literally walked around David Pastrnak.
The 25-year-old forward has played three games in the NHL earlier in his career with the Calgary Flames. But he never really got the chance under coach Darryl Sutter, despite scoring 76 points in 66 games with the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers last year.
But in the capital, Phillips has been getting a lot of time on the ice with Sonny Milano and Dylan Strome, and his place in the opening night’s roster is well deserved. And with it, he’s breaking new ground. According to multiple reports online, Phillips is the lightest skater in NHL history. Phillips is only 5-foot-7 and 140 lbs.
Cult player Nathan Gerbe, who’s only 5,4, weighed 175 lbs.
However, Phillips isn’t the lightest if goalies count. Roy ”Shrimp” Worters, a goalie in the 30s, was 5’3, 135lbs. For Phillips, it’s nothing new. He’s used to being the lightest player in the team.
“I’m definitely not the biggest guy, but I think I play a lot bigger than I am,” Phillips has told The Hockey News.
Phillips claims he’s made it to his advantage rather than his smaller frame being a problem.
“I’ve always been the smallest guy on my team since I’ve started playing hockey, so I kind of only know how to play one way,” Phillips said. “I don’t feel small when I’m on the ice. I just love competing and love working for the puck and playing with the puck. It’s something I’ve always done my whole life, and I don’t think too much about it, honestly. It’s just something that comes naturally.
“I’m a pretty smart player. I think my quickness is a big strength of mine… I get to the dirty areas, like to pass the puck a lot and shoot the puck,” he added. “Just always being around the net and making stuff happen is kind of my game.”