2008-09: In 58 games, Phil Varone scored 19 goals and 33 assists, alongside 32 penalty minutes. Ranked 172nd among NA skaters by CS.
2009-10: After being drafted 147th overall by the San Jose Sharks in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Phillip Varone had an injury shortened season. He played in only 31 games for the London Knights(OHL). Varone did score at a point-per-game pace when healthy, finishing with 9 goals and 22 assists.
2010-11: Varone attended the Sharks’ camp before returning to London for an overage season. With a limit on overage players, he was traded to Erie in October 2010. After scoring 1 goal in four games with the Knights, Varone was a key player for an Otters team that won 40 games for the first time since 2001-02. He was the second-leading scorer with 33 goals and 81 assists in 55 games and was plus-22 with 30 penalty minutes. The Otters finished third in the Midwest Division before losing to defending Memorial Cup champion Windsor in a tight seven-game series. Varone was Erie’s leading scorer in the playoffs, finishing with 3 goals and 10 assists in seven games. He was not signed to a contract by San Jose in June 2011, becoming an unrestricted free agent.
2011-12: Varone was signed to an AHL contract by the Rochester Americans after attending Buffalo’s training camp. He was the leading scorer for the Sabres’ affiliate, scoring 11 goals with 41 assists, and was plus-17 with 42 penalty minutes in 76 games. The Amerks finished second in the North Division. Varone and Marcus Foligno each scored 1 goal with 2 assists to lead the Amerks in scoring in the three-game playoff series with Toronto. The Sabres signed him to a three-year entry-level contract in March, 2012.
2012-13: Varone skated in 62 games for Buffalo’s AHL affiliate in Rochester in his second pro season. A healthy scratch at times early in the season due to the NHL lockout, he scored 11 goals with 24 assists and was -3 with 42 penalty minutes. The Americans finished second in the North Division and were swept by first place Toronto in the first round of the playoffs. Varone played in all three playoff games and was -4 with no points and 2 penalty minutes.
Scouts are divided about Varone. Some say that, despite his small stature, he is slick and skilled enough to be a top-six playmaker in the NHL, with a Daniel Briere-like ability to elevate his game when it matters most. Others say that Varone is destined to top out as an AHL scorer.
Varone did not impress in the first year of his three-year contract. He is still a talented offensive player, but still needs to score more to overcome his lack of size. Varone will spend another year with Rochester as one of their top centers.