For two of the Kings top defensive prospects, it’s been quite a 2019 already. Both Mikey Anderson (Team USA) and Markus Phillips represented their native countries at the prestigious World Junior Championship in January. Later, both won a season championship with their regular teams, the University of Minnesota Duluth (NCAA) and Guelph Storm (OHL), respectively. And, more recently, the duo each signed their first professional contracts.
This should be their last Development Camps with the Kings. Rookie Camp in September will determine their immediate future, with both of them likely beginning next season in the AHL.
During our LA Kings Prospect Rankings published a few months back, both were among the Top 10 players listed in the organization’s pool of future talent.
In what should be a big summer for their overall development, we caught up with each of them after practicing at the team’s training facility…
Phillips on his mindset at camp and what he’s hoping to show this week:
It’s obviously early in the summer, Sean [Durzi] and I just finished playing about four weeks ago. We’re just getting into the swing of things, getting our legs under us. For me, personally, I’m here to learn from guys like [Mike O’Connell and Sean O’Donnell], who are pretty knowledgeable defensemen. Even throughout my development path, they’ve been huge for that and helping make me into the defenseman I am today.
Phillips on all he’s experienced over the past six months:
Going into the season, my goals were to make the World Juniors and to earn an NHL contract. I checked off both of those boxes and an OHL Championship was a bonus on top of that. It was a whirlwind of emotions, losing in the World Juniors that Wednesday and then getting traded on Friday. It was a quick turnaround.
Philips on Durzi recently telling MayorsManor a story about Drew Doughty helping motivate the Guelph Storm during their OHL playoff run:
Yeah, we were down 0-3 in the first round against London. One of our guys, Cedric Ralph, sent a video in our group chat and it was a video of the Kings comeback against the Sharks in the first round of 2014. Then, when we were in Guelph, right before we went on the ice for Game 4, Doughty walked into the locker room and he mentioned it, as well – he said they were in the same shoes we were and if you get one or two goals, then they’re on their heels and you can take advantage of them. So, it was cool to mimic that story. And he’s a London native, so I don’t think he really wanted to watch the Knights win that one.
Phillips on his goals for next season:
I think it’s just getting my feet wet in professional hockey. It’s a different game. I went from being the oldest guy in juniors, other than over agers, to being the youngest guy in pro hockey, more or less. I just want to start to learn that game and start to play against bigger and stronger players.
Phillips on Ontario Reign coach Mike Stothers:
I know Stuttsy really well and we have the Owen Sound connection, as well. Stutts has been great to me and if I ever needed something I can just reach out to him. He even said as much to me earlier in the summer, telling me if I have any questions just feel free to reach out. Stutts is a great guy and obviously it shows with the development of the players in the Kings organization.
Phillips on if he connects well with coaches like Stothers, who can provide tough love when needed and are always honest about a player’s performance:
Yes, 100%. I think its good having that communication, whether it’s good or bad, because in the long run he’s just trying to make you better. There’s nothing personal there and he’s just making you the best player he can.
Anderson on being one of the older players in camp, somebody who has been through this before:
It’s different, for sure. You see some of the CHL guys that you don’t see all year. They’re some of my good fiends now, just from being around them at some of the past camps. It’s fun being around them. Then throughout the week, you can pick and choose little things from the coaches and the staff; they have a lot of good information to give out. When you’ve been here before and you know what things will be like, you can dial in all of the little details they’ve been preaching and try to focus on that throughout the week.
Anderson on which CHL guys he’s referring to:
I’ve gotten to know JAD [Jaret Anderson-Dolan] and Phillips pretty well, just from being around them at camp in the past. Then, this year, seeing them at World Juniors was pretty fun. We’ve all become good friends from our time here in the summer.
Anderson on his current mindset:
Right now, it’s just about trying to get myself as ready as I can for camp [in September]. I’m trying to build as much muscle mass and strength as I can. When I come in for camp, I want to have a good week of testing right away. I also want to try and make an impact on the ice. There is a lot of opportunity right now. We have a lot of really good young defenseman. Everyone’s goal is to make the opening night roster. It’s about trying to put yourself in the best spot to make the team.
Anderson on his approach heading into Rookie Camp in September:
My approach is to come in here and make the big team out of camp. I think that’s probably everyone’s goal. It’s a dream to be able to play in the NHL. Being able to have the opportunity to come to camp and make the roster is a big deal. So, I want to make sure I give myself the best chance to make the team. And then we’ll go from there, take it day by day once I get here. For now, it’s trying to set my body up and everything else up to come into camp in the best possible shape I can.
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