I spent most of the days leading up to the trade deadline terrified that Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas would ship off top prospect Matthew Knies for a one year rental.
Thankfully, this didn’t happen and Matthew Knies will be a Toronto Maple Leaf.
The 19-year-old forward had 32 points in 32 games in his freshman season and is coming into the Frozen Four hot with four goals in his last three games.
Toronto Maple Leafs and Matthews Knies
The great state of Minnesota and Head Coach Bob Motzko have done their part to help develop Knies into a better hockey player. He’s going to be an absolute stud and may end up being the biggest steal of his draft class.
So when will he join the Leafs?
Well… this quote may look good for Golden Gopher fans, but not so much for Leafs fans:
Firstly, I respect the fact that he’s fulfilling his commitment to the Gophers and playing out this season. That’s admirable and something that you don’t see a lot of in the modern world of collegiate athletics, particularly in college football.
Let’s look at this realistically. Knies is about to take on the best college hockey team in the country in the Frozen Four. He’s trying to win a National Championship for a program that hasn’t won one since 2003.
His draft rights may be owned by the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he’s not a Toronto Maple Leaf yet. He is a Minnesota Golden Gopher and will continue to be one until they either get knocked out or win a National Championship. Considering the Michigan juggernaut that could be waiting for the Gophers if they pull of the win against Minnesota State, his attention needs to be 100% on the task at hand.
That being said, I do believe that Matthew Knies will be signing a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs after his college season is over no matter what the outcome is. I don’t have any inside source on that, it’s just my gut feeling. NHL money in the hockey capital of the world after winning a National Championship seems is a pretty good deal.
If Knies does sign, the Sheldon Keefe has yet another forward that they’ll have to fit into the lineup. Nick Robertson and Nick Abruzzssee haven’t cemented their roles yet, with Robertson with the Marlies and Abruzzssee being scratched on Tuesday night, so I’m curious to see what Sheldon Keefe does if Knies does sign with the Leafs.
Will this 19-year-old bring a spark? Is that a fair thing to ask of him? Is burning the first year of Knies’ entry level contract worth it if he’s not going to be getting minutes? These are all questions that need to be asked before a final decision is made here.
This is a phenomenal problem to have, by the way. With how cap-strapped the Leafs are and will continue to be, young talent needs to come through the pipeline if this team wants to continue to contend for cups in the coming seasons.