As you may have already seen earlier in the week, Matthew Knies had a pretty great profile written about him by The Athletic. It covered a lot of interesting information and insights into his thought process for his decision to not sign with Toronto last season, but some very strong indications he will sign this season. It also included some details about what Toronto’s development team are working on with him to help get him ready — not just for the NHL, but the playoffs.
His relationship with the Leafs remains strong. He knows his skating, particularly his east-west movement, needs to improve. He said members of the Leafs development staff will often listen more than they speak, eager to hear about how he’s filling in the “little holes.” Lately, a focus of Knies’ has been improving how quickly he can win pucks along the wall and then send them to the right areas of the ice, for example.
But when the Leafs development staff does talk, they talk about the playoffs, and how the game will change if he does indeed make the jump to the NHL.
There are some obvious elements of Knies’ game that seem tailor made for the NHL, and especially the playoffs. He’s big and he uses it. He plays a power forward game, but also has some finesse and skill that can create a bit of a terrifying offensive and transition threat. But he has taken his off-puck game to a new level, using his size, physical play, skating and relentless puck pursuit to become more of a complete two-way forward. All in all, it has turned him into one of the best players in the NCAA.
Does this mean he’s ready not just for the NHL, but the NHL playoffs? Well... maybe not. Especially since Toronto just went out and got two more forwards to shore up their depth last night. But certainly gives them an option if there are injuries or poor performances from the rest of their bottom six. He can kill penalties, play the net front on a PP2 unit, and then just skate around like a wrecking ball and terrorizing the other team for a few minutes a night.
#LeafsForever prospect Matthew Knies with the zone entry, move into the middle of the ice, and pass to Snuggerud for the lovely primary assist. He has 32 points in 31 NCAA games this season.pic.twitter.com/bw3dHxKZYk— More like Nikita GREATbyonkin (@brigstew86) February 18, 2023
#LeafsForever prospect Matthew Knies goes to the net in a soft part of coverage and taps in one of the easier goals he'll ever score thanks to a great Logan Cooley pass. Knies is up to 33 points in 31 games.pic.twitter.com/Rk7YwA17hU— More like Nikita GREATbyonkin (@brigstew86) February 18, 2023
LINKS FROM THE BRANCHES
Let’s go shopping | by Cathy... seems kind of moot now, though.
Marlies defeat the Comets 2-1 in tight game | by Species, the last win of Abramov and Gaudette’s Marlies careers.
Bally and the Cap | by Cathy
Fundraising for the Future | by Cathy
AHHH WHO CARES ABOUT THE REST
Y’all are just going to be waking up to/still losing your minds about the big trade last night! Go talk about it here! Go Leafs Go!