Leafs prospect Matthew Knies brings home a couple of B1G 10 honours
By Jon Steitzer8 months ago
It’s another big week for Matthew Knies. He’s just come off a convincing win with the University of Minnesota that will put them in the B1G 10 Conference Finals next weekend in advance of the Frozen Four tournament. He’s likely to be named to the final 10 Hobey Baker finalists on Friday, and today was a big day for collecting some additional accolades.
Matthew Knies being named the B1G 10 player of the year is an interesting choice, especially given that he’s on a line with the co-scoring leaders for the Conference with Logan Cooley and Jimmy Snuggerud. He also beat out draft darling Adam Fantelli from the University of Michigan. There’s always been a bit of preference in the NCAA to recognize upperclassmen over freshmen, but that is not an attempt to take anything away from Knies, who is benefiting from the fact that there is a lot to like about Knies’ game away from the puck as well.
Knies is very much in the old school “hockey the right way” model. He hits hard, drives the net, is aware in his own zone, and creates space. When Knies isn’t on the score sheet you know he’s still doing a lot of things to help his team and that is going to be well received by voters.
In 35 games so far this year, Knies has 21 goals and 40 points. That is up from his 15 goals and 33 points last year in 33 games. There’s some consistency and improvement in those numbers that is encouraging especially when Cooley and Snuggerud arrived to cut into the point share this year.
No matter the outcome of the B1G Ten finals on the weekend, Minnesota will be named to the Frozen Four, so we won’t see Knies with the Leafs until after that tournament gets underway. The National Championship was an important reason for Knies to return to school this season and now that he’s accomplished about everything he can short of that in the NCAA it is likely that he’ll be ready to sign with Toronto immediately no matter the outcome of the tournament.
Knies winning awards is certainly not going to help Leafs fans temper expectations around the prospect and far be it for me to say don’t be excited about a great prospect winning awards. I’d just say remember the checking role played by Knies both at the Olympics and at the World Juniors and expect more of that immediately than the point per game player who scores important goals.
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