Since clinching a playoff spot, the hype around Matthew Knies and his potential signing with the Maple Leafs has gone through the roof. Knies, a second round pick just last year is a 19-year-old with a late birthday who was a point-per-game in his rookie NCAA season. He has been compared to Auston Matthews simply because of his home state and height, but his pick position should say a lot more about where he is right now. And it’s especially tough being compared to Auston Matthews as #34 has been putting up a season like this.

Kyle Dubas, for better or worse, has been very bold in calling up his second round pick prospects in the NHL very early. He did so with Nick Robertson pretty much straight out of junior, and now seemingly Knies. Meanwhile he was very patient with the likes of Rasmus Sandin and especially Timothy Liljegren. Those two have paid off in spades, while Robertson looked rushed and hasn’t stuck around longer than a few games at a time. And yet he’s still only 20-years-old.

Back to Knies, while I’m sure he’s a good student, I would assume his main reason for staying in college are that his Minnesota team got to the semifinals of the men’s championship in his first year with him playing a big part. Does he want a second go-around with his team? I don’t blame him, especially if his role on the Leafs is at the bottom of the lineup or scratched and possibly the AHL next season. I think Knies is a great prospect, but is he top-six material right now? I highly doubt it. Knies is in a very unique position for someone drafted where and when he did. I don’t think it means he’s a top-half of the first round pick at the moment (he probably could be considering his talent), it just means Dubas is pushing for him to play. And considering his history with Robertson, it’s not always a guarantee it’s the right time.

At the end of the day, the GM is going to do what’s best for his team — bring in as much talent and options as possible for the playoffs. The player is going to do what he can — maintain control over his eligibility and rights, and weigh options carefully. And fans will fan. Honestly, I don’t blame Knies for wanting to stay on a Minnesota team like the one he has over a potential season on these Toronto Marlies. They are a frustrating team that is nowhere near competitive.

One bit of news that could signal it’s time to move on is Minnesota’s best player, Ben Meyers, signing with the Colorado Avalanche instead of staying for another season. They didn’t quite make it to the NCAA men’s championship, I’m sure it still stings, but the deadline to make a decision is coming up soon. Some players are already making it.

Various Leafs and Branches

John Tavares and William Nylander have some fun in the most recent Leaf to Leaf.

Stare at the colours and pondor...

Another OHL exceptional status player is coming up. This time it’s Michael Misa, who scored more points in the OHL Cup than Connor McDavid, apparently.