Auston Matthews among four who will make a pitch to Matthew Knies about turning pro

Published April 8, 2022 at 6:06 PM
BY MIKE ARMENTI
Less than 24 hours after the University of Michigan Golden Gophers were eliminated from the NCAA's Frozen Four tournament, the Leafs are preparing to have a group make pitches to Gophers forward and 2021 Leafs' 2nd round pick Matthew Knies.

We already knew that Kyle Dubas was planning on speaking with Knies and Dubas has already admitted that he does not plan to pressure Knies into signing if he doesn't feel as though he's ready - a concern that Knies was already vocal about, stating that he knows there are things he can continue to work on if he returns to his NCAA club next year. What we didn't know, however, is that there are several others within the Leafs organization who will be making pitches to Knies, including Auston Matthews.

Along with Dubas and Matthews, Knies will also chat with Leafs President Brendan Shanahan and captain John Tavares. Talk about putting your best foot forward in an attempt to recruit a potential 19-year-old phenom.

While hearing from the President, GM and captain of the Leafs would certainly be pretty cool, I'd imagine that a meeting with Matthews, the Leafs' new single season goal scoring record holder, would probably move the needle a lot more for the Phoenix, Arizona native.


Like Knies, Matthews knows what it's like to come out of Arizona and to have massive hockey aspirations. While Matthews was born in California, he was raised in Arizona and played a lot of hockey there growing up. I'd imagine the two will have more than a few stories to share from their individual experiences of playing hockey in the desert.

Matthews may only be 5 years older than Knies, but I would venture a guess that over the last few years, Auston Matthews has been someone who Knies has been watching very closely, someone he admires a great deal.

Knies has admittedly not made a decision as of yet, but with the 19-year-old power forward recently leaning toward a return to Minnesota, maybe Dubas, Shanny, Auston and JT can convince Knies that an opportunity to win a Stanley Cup at 19 years old is a very rare thing. If the Leafs believe that Knies is a missing piece that gets them closer to a championship, we could yet see the NCAA star jump ship and head to Toronto.

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