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The Calder Trophy door isn’t closed just yet, so why not Matthew Knies?
By Nick Alberga1 month ago
With Connor Bedard on the shelf for the foreseeable future with a fractured jaw, suddenly, the Calder Trophy race is wide open once again.
Matthew Knies enters the chat.
While it’s important to acknowledge that the 21-year-old is probably nowhere close to the conversation right now, there’s no question he’s fully capable of surging up the rankings —at the very least.
Quietly, the 2021 second round pick has started to demonstrate the consistency necessary for such an achievement. On top of that, he’s found a fantastic home on Toronto’s top line with two world class players in the form of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. By the game, that trio has looked better and better, so it’s not outlandish to suggest Knies could be a top-six fixture for rest of season purposes. Translation: He’ll get his cookies.
Through 35 outings in his rookie campaign, the Arizona native has tallied eight goals and 14 points. Pro-rated over 82 games, that’s a 19-goal, 33-point pace. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but obviously, that type of production would come nowhere close to getting the job done. That said, he’s fully capable of going on a bit of a run offensively, especially again when you take into account who he’s playing with on a nightly basis.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest things working against Knies is the fact that he’s not on the top power play unit, which obviously negatively impacts his offensive ceiling. Comparatively speaking, some of the other freshmen in contention are getting much more exposure and time with the man advantage. In the long run, it probably hurts his chances of being a bona fide contender for the dubious award, but you never know.
The good news is that members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association are responsible for voting on the Calder Trophy. In terms of building narratives and hoopla, is there a bigger market than Toronto for that? NOPE.
Any way you slice it though, Matthew Knies is already proving that he’s a very special player and undoubtedly, he figures to be a part of Toronto’s core for many, many years to come.
You love to see it.
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