Toronto Maple Leafs rookie forward Matthew Knies
Photo credit: Yahoo Sports

Matthew Knies may flourish in new role with the Maple Leafs

Published March 12, 2024 at 11:54

With the NHL playoffs likely to start in less than six weeks, Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe continues to tinker with his lines to find the best combinations possible before the games become much more meaningful.

One of his most recent moves was taking Leafs rookie Matthew Knies off the top line and having him play on the third line alongside David Kämpf and Bobby McMann on Saturday night in Montreal. Knies and McMann, in specific, showed a tremendous level of chemistry with one another.

It's easy to say that this trio were three of the best players in Montreal and really set the tone with the McMann goal. They brought a lot of heavy pressure and hard forechecking to the game, and made it tough for the Canadiens players to defend. On Monday afternoon on The Kyper and Bourne Show on Sportsnet 590 The FAN, Nick Kypreos and Justin Bourne both had some great points to make on Knies in his new role:

"I think Matthew Knies is getting to go against worse competition, taking him out of that top group and letting him play third lines with less pressure, I thought he looked like a different hockey player [on Saturday]." - Bourne on the idea of Knies getting a good long look on the third line

Nick Kypreos made a great point on having Knies off the top line:

"The less pressure of having to keep up or produce or do things right for Matthews and Marner - I think he can relax a little bit more thinking 'I don't have to produce, I don't have to be that man carrying their left side.'" - Kypreos on pressure being taken off Knies when on the third line

Their producer, Sam McKee, joined Kypreos and Bourne on Monday and had this to say on Knies:

"When he's out there with McMann and Kämpf, who are two great players but different types of guys obviously, it's nice for him to be able to be like I've got this puck and I'm going to shoot this puck." - McKee on Matthew Knies likely to see more puck touches and shot attempts on line 3

Having Knies on a line without Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner allows Knies to play more confident with the puck and will allow him to shoot the puck more, which could, in turn, improve his production. He is still young and learning the game at the NHL level so this could be a blessing in disguise. To be fair, this may be the spot he should have been in all along.
March 12   |   460 answers
Matthew Knies may flourish in new role with the Maple Leafs

What is the best line for Matthew Knies moving forward?

Line 113028.3 %
Line 212627.4 %
Line 320444.3 %
Line 400 %
Latest 10 stories