Taking a look at past Royals prospects that are succeeding today
After a recent league-wide announcement, there is hope for hockey. For now, the WHL began on February 26 in Alberta. Then, the United States divisions began on March 19. The games feature no spectators and will be a 24-game season. All games will be played within the divisional pool due to COVID restrictions. Either way, the teams are just happy to get some form of competition in.
The Victoria Royals have been sitting in limbo after the WHL announced it was having a season on January 8th. Time has passed and there have been few details until now. With the Royals waiting just a little bit longer, to get the mood ready for the season, let’s take a look at a few players from the past that have been succeeding since they departed from Victoria.
Matthew Phillips – Calgary
The Calgary Flames are not one of the top NHL picks for the Stanley Cup but have been competitive to sit 8-8-1 on the season. The 22-year old Phillips could be on the rise to the professional team soon. We have seen Phillip ago from 48 goals and 64 assists in the WHL to a highly-touted prospect for the Stockton Heat.
Phillips had a successful career in the WHL. He was a former Harry Allen Memorial Trophy winner for being the top scorer in the league. He later won the Trevor Linden Trophy as the league’s top forward. After his successful season in 2017-2018, Phillips signed a three-year, $2.325 million entry-level contract with the Flames. He has spent the last two seasons with the Calgary Flames’ American Hockey League affiliate the Stockton Heat.
Joe Hicketts – Detroit Red Wings
Former defenseman Joe Hickets has not played in the WHL since 2015-2016. Since leaving Victoria, he has spent time with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins. He has seen a few call-ups to the Red Wings. In Victoria, he was drafted No. 12 overall in 2011-2012. He played 67 of 72 games the following season and recorded six goals and 18 assists.
The next season he reached assistant captain status but featured an injury-plagued season. During the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Hicketts was invited to attend the Red Wings Development Camp. From there, he was named to the roster for the 2014 NHL Prospects Tournament and then signed as a free agent with the Red Wings for three-years, $1.9 million.
Noah Gregor – San Jose Sharks
The most successful prospect has likely been Noah Gregor, who has played full time for the Sharks the last two seasons. Gregor played 30 games for the Royals during the 2017-2018 season. Overall, Gregor has played for the Moose Jaw Warriors, Royals, and Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL. In 2016, he was taken by the Sharks in the NHL Entry Draft.
He has since signed an entry-level contract. In 2019, he played his first NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres.
With the WHL set to return soon, we will get a chance to see the next coming of NHL prospects set forth by the Royals franchise.