Huge development regarding Leafs rookie Matthew Knies

Mike Armenti
December 29, 2023  (8:54)

Matthew Knies' numbers very encouraging in his rookie season
Photo credit: Yahoo Sports

Coming into the 2023-24 season, the expectations were very high for Maple Leafs rookie Matthew Knies, who had already established himself as an NHL-caliber player when he stepped into the NHL at the end of last season for a 3-game trial and then went on to suit up in 7 playoff games with the Buds, recording 4 playoff points.

This season, it was really tough to project where Knies would finish in terms of overall goals and points by the end of the year, but many had suggested that if he could hit something in the neighborhood of 20 goals and 50 points, he'd be a legitimate Calder Trophy contender.
So far this season, Knies has contributed 8 goals and 14 points for the Leafs in 30 games and has put forth some dominant performances along the way, including a pair of 3-point outings against the Tampa Bay Lightning on October 21st and again on November 6th. His consistency still needs some work, as he has gone pointless in 3 or more games 4 separate times this season. However, on the whole, his overall performance has been very good.
As far as his projections go, Knies is right on pace to exceed 20 goals this season. His 8 goals through 30 games puts him on a 22-goal pace. Over 82 games, noting that he has missed a couple with the flu, if Knies continues to score at the same rate without missing any more games, he'll finish with 20 goals on the season, though his total points, barring a mid-season surge, are currently on pace to reach just 35 total - well below the totals of some recent Calder Trophy winners.
Makar - 12+38=50 in 2019-20
Kaprizov - 27+24=51 in 2020-21
Seider - 7+43=50 in 2021-22
Beniers - 24+33=57 in 2022-23
Of course, the Calder Trophy this season is Connor Bedard's to lose. Bedard is currently sitting just under a point per game in Chicago, with 32 points in 34 games thus far, but he's really been heating up of late with 8 points in his last 5 games. It's not unrealistic to imagine a scenario in which Bedard finishes above 80 points this season.
Still, even though he likely won't be in the running for a Calder Trophy this season, there's a lot to like about where Knies' game is heading. He's been adjusting well to the speed and intensity of the NHL level and has even been getting more engaged physically as the season wears on. Whether he breaks 20 goals and 50 points now seems somewhat irrelevant. Now, it's more about how he can continue to build on what he's done through his 30 games and establish himself as a legitimate top-6 power forward, which he very much appears to be.
As a 21-year-old former 2nd round pick, it's almost unfathomable how quickly Knies has taken to the NHL. He seems like a good bet to become a star for the Maple Leafs, if he's not that already.
Huge development regarding Leafs rookie Matthew Knies

Do you think Matthew Knies will catch fire and exceed 50 points this season?

Yes, it's coming!34239.4 %
No, he'll fall just short of 5039245.2 %
I don't think he'll even be close to 5013315.3 %
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