Matthew Knies ranked ahead of some significant prospects on the NHL Network's prospect rankings list

Mike Armenti
August 12, 2023  (2:11 PM)

Last season, Leafs Nation knew that Matthew Knies was almost assuredly coming over from the NCAA and beginning his professional hockey career at the tail-end of the season and in the playoffs with the Leafs. There were plenty of warnings issued to fans to understand that he may not flourish straight away and that he may need time to adjust and acclimate himself to the NHL.

As we all know now, Knies' adjustment to the speed of the game was more quick than many of us had expected and while the goals didn't pile up for him at the same rate that they did in the NCAA, he still produced plenty of quality scoring chances and didn't look out of place at all - even in the playoffs, much to the surprise of just about everyone.
Knies was thought of as a potentially bottom-six player for the Leafs in his first look with the club, but he quickly gained the trust of his head coach, Sheldon Keefe, and drew several assignments within the team's top six, even scoring his first career playoff goal in the Leafs' round 2 series against Florida.
With how well Knies performed at the end of last season and in the playoffs, it's going to be hard to temper our expectations now. By all appearances, this kid is a player. Not only is he a player, but he looks to be an impact player. In fact, the NHL Network released their top-50 NHL prospects list on Friday. Low and behold, Knies ranked ahead of some very promising prospects, and inside of the top 15 to boot.
The NHL Network had Knies ranked 14th on the list, 1 spot ahead of 2022 4th overall pick Shane Wright, who was long considered a consensus #1 pick leading up to his draft year. He also ranked higher than a number of Montreal Canadiens prospects, including 2023 5th overall pick David Reinbacher, as well as Ottawa Senators 2020 1st round pick Ridly Greig.
In terms of who had ranked ahead of Knies, the NHL Network has Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Matvei Michkov and Knies' own NCAA teammate, Logan Cooley, among that group. You can see the full list below:
The Leafs are in a position now where they need some of their young players to take a real step and become significant contributors behind the Core 4. Obviously, with this being Knies' official rookie season, the expectations can't be too high, but they will be high after what he had shown in the playoffs. However, I'm sure that the NHL Network placing Knies so high on their list will only be added pressure for the soon-to-be 21-year-old Arizona native. Will he rise to the occasion? Will he exceed the lofty expectations placed upon him? Will he fall short and struggle during his first full 82-game season? There are plenty of questions, to be sure. With a little over a month until the start of training camp, the 2023-24 season is just around the corner and the answers are coming.
12 AOUT   |   796 ANSWERS
Matthew Knies ranked ahead of some significant prospects on the NHL Network's prospect rankings list

Is Matthew Knies a top-15 prospect in the entire league?

Yes52766.2 %
No10312.9 %
Not sure11814.8 %
See results486 %
Latest 10 stories