If Matthew Knies turns out like one potential NHL comparable, he'll be a massive addition for the Leafs

Published March 10, 2023 at 9:55

Although Matthew Knies is a highly-touted prospect, it can be difficult to find an exact comparison. He reminds me of several different Leafs at times. He shoots like Nick Robertson, he can carry the puck through the neutral zone like William Nylander, and he's built like Auston Matthews, at 6'3, 210 lbs, but his physical game is much more pronounced than all 3. Plus, he is also part of the University of Minnesota's penalty killing unit, a dimension to his game not present in Nylander, Matthews or Robertson. His mix of size, skill, physicality and shooting talent is rare, leading to the Leafs looking at him internally as a "unicorn". Imagine adding a winger with the ability to do this to opponents:

He also has a ton of offensive talent and can score from range, off the rush and in front of the net. Take note of two things watching these. One, the clock. There's a LOT of clutch plays in big moments in here. Two, where he scores from.

When looking around the NHL for comparables, there aren't a lot of players that have the same unique attributes. One player that comes to mind is Chris Kreider. Kreider is a physical winger who does a lot of scoring from in tight. A look at their NCAA numbers reveals more similarities. In fact Knies and Kreider had near identical college scoring rates, Knies being just ahead of the Rangers winger in terms of both goals and points per game.

For comparison, here are some of Kreider's goals from this season. Like Knies, a lot of his best work is done at the goal mouth. Kreider has also racked up 102 hits so far this year.

If the Leafs are lucky enough to have Knies pan out as well as Kreider has, Leafs fans are going to fall in love with the Phoenix, AZ native. If the videos aren't enough to get you excited, this quote from Knies himself in a recent interview with Joshua Kloke of The Athletic will.

"That's why I use my body: It's another tool to get me to win those battles. I just don't want to be a soft player. I'm going to use my body for sure and make other players aware of me on the ice. I think a harder player to play against is when you don't know whether he's gonna steal the puck away from you, or if he's gonna put you through the glass. That's the kind of player I want to be."
- Matthew Knies
March 10   |   647 answers
If Matthew Knies turns out like one potential NHL comparable, he'll be a massive addition for the Leafs

How many games will Matthew Knies play for the Leafs in this year's playoffs?

09815.1 %
1-311617.9 %
3-714522.4 %
7+28844.5 %
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