Photo credit:Steven Ellis/The Leafs Nation
Matthew Knies to make his Maple Leafs debut Monday with Sam Lafferty out
By Mike Gould10 months ago
Top prospect Matthew Knies will make his National Hockey League debut on Monday evening when the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Fla.
Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe confirmed the news of Knies’ impending debut in a pre-game media availability. The Maple Leafs and Panthers are set to go head-to-head at 7:00 p.m. ET on Monday.
Keefe also indicated that the Maple Leafs did not originally plan to use Knies on Monday, but Sam Lafferty suffered an undisclosed injury during practice and is day-to-day.
The Maple Leafs will dress 11 forwards and seven defencemen against the Panthers. Ilya Samsonov is expected to start in goal and will be backed up by a goaltender on an amateur tryout deal.
Knies will most likely begin his NHL career on a line with fellow NCAA alumni Noel Acciari and Alexander Kerfoot. By all indications, Knies will wear No. 23 on his Maple Leafs sweater.
The Maple Leafs originally selected Knies in the second round (No. 57 overall) of the 2021 NHL Draft. The Phoenix, Ariz. product collected 21 goals and 42 points in 40 games during his sophomore NCAA season to help the Minnesota Golden Gophers reach the Frozen Four final, which they lost to the Quinnipiac Bobcats in overtime by a 3–2 score.
Entering Monday’s action, the Maple Leafs rank second in the Atlantic Division with a 47–21–11 record and 105 points through 79 games. They also have a chance to deal a huge blow to the Panthers’ playoff chances if they can pull out a win in regulation.
It remains to be seen whether Knies will appear in the Maple Leafs’ final two games of the regular season (or in the playoffs), but, as of Monday, he’s officially arrived in the National Hockey League. You’ll be able to watch his first NHL game on Sportsnet Ontario.
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