No. 3: Matthew Knies
I hope I’m wrong with this, but remember all of the hype we had for Nick Robertson?
The young left-winger who averaged more than one goal-per-game in junior was supposed to be a top-six winger and light up the league, yet that never happened and we’ve already seemingly forgot about him.
I’m not saying that Knies is going to be the next Robertson, but we should tamper our expectations, as this is still a 20-year-old playing his first year of professional hockey.
Despite playing the same position, Knies is a lot different than Robertson, based on his size. At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, there should be a lot less risk of him getting injured as a physically-commanding forward.
However, I am weary of what to expect from Knies this year because I’m not sure where he’s going to play.
If he gets a true opportunity in the top-six, then I think he can shine and be a Calder Trophy nominee, but if he gets summoned to the third-line and can’t produce right away, it could make for a long season and a potential stint with the Toronto Marlies.
Knies is hopefully going to have a long and successful career in the NHL, so if he doesn’t score 30 goals in Year 1, it won’t be a failure, but I think based on the expectations Leafs fans have for him this year, I’d bet on the side of caution and say that this year may be a little disappointing.