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Fantasy Summary

Powerful forward with great size and skill. Excels along the wall and gets pucks to middle ice where he can unleash his heavy shot. A unique blend of physicality and finesse.


Observations

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August 2022 – Knies suited up for Team USA at the World Juniors reboot tournament, but it was a disappointing showing for him and his teammates. He played well and filled his role as a strong forechecker and space creator for his linemates but the production wasn’t there, and he finished with just three assists in five games before USA was defeated by Czechia in the quarterfinals. While he didn’t dominate the way many may have expected him to, it is important to remember that this was a limited sample size of games in a very unique situation. Knies is still primed for a big sophomore season as he gets set to return to the University of Minnesota. Nick Richard

April 2022 – Following a stellar freshman season at Minnesota, Knies had the opportunity to turn pro but he has informed the Leafs that he will be returning to the Gophers for his sophomore year. Though he showed enough to convince the Leafs’ brass that he was ready for the jump to professional hockey, another season of being a dominant force at the college level will make him that much more prepared next spring.

Knies has been on a steady upward trajectory ever since being selected in the second round of the 2021 NHL Draft. He quickly established himself as a key player on one of the best teams in college hockey, helping lead them to a berth in the Frozen Four with a combination of clutch scoring and imposing physical play. He earned a spot not only on the US World Junior team, but on their Olympic squad as well, and he was named to the Big 10’s All-Rookie Team, as well as the conference’s Second All-Star Team. Short of a national title, it was a dream season for the Arizona native and he will take another crack at it with Minnesota in 2022-23. As of now, it would be a surprise if Knies isn’t on the Leafs’ roster at this time next season. Nick Richard

January 2022 – Leafs fans were surely disappointed when the World Juniors were canceled after getting to see just one game from Knies, but they will have another opportunity to see their 2021 second-round pick suit up for the Red, White, and Blue before long. The standout freshman from the University of Minnesota was recently named to Team USA for the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing and his combination of size and skill could make him an important piece of their lineup. Knies is closer to being pro-ready than most second-rounders are at this point in their development and his inclusion on the American Olympic roster at just 19 years of age is a reflection of that, even without NHL players participating in the tournament. Nick Richard

December 2021 – Knies has gotten his collegiate career off to a great start in his first season at the University of Minnesota, sitting two points back of the team scoring lead at the holiday break. His seven goals and nine assists through 18 games are tied for the second-highest total among freshmen in the entire NCAA.

Knies’ strong play has turned heads and his play through the early part of the season has all but assured him a spot on USA’s roster for the upcoming World Junior Championships. The 2021 second-round pick is expected to play a prominent role for the American squad and he has the potential to be one of the most impactful players at this year’s event with his advanced physical game and scoring touch. Nick Richard

August 2021 – Knies had an impressive showing at the World Junior Summer Showcase, racking up four goals and three assists over five games. He played his usual power game, making life difficult for the opposition down low and along the boards, but also showed off a bit more high-end skill over the course of the event. He was able to generate off the rush and showed improvement on his release, scoring a couple of goals off of heavy shots from distance. Knies may have entered the event as a dark horse to make USA’s World Junior roster but his performance at the WJSS has put him squarely in the mix to earn a key role for the annual holiday tournament. Nick Richard

July 2021 – Knies was selected in the second round, 57th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2021 NHL Draft. Nick Richard

January 2021 – Knies is an offensively skilled forward with crafty hands but tends to get overly creative and cause turnovers with the puck. This could be an issue at the next level. If he learns to make simpler moves, he could improve his draft stock, as he would be less likely to turn the puck over. He has strong vision and passing abilities, getting the puck to dangerous areas on the ice. Knies also has a very accurate shot that can beat a lot of goaltenders. He displays decent skating skills, with average first steep acceleration, but he does have the ability to win foot races to pucks from time to time. Defensively, he needs a little more work. He maintains good positioning and has an active stick, but he could get involved more physically. Clare McManus

Attributes
Fantasy Upside 8.5
NHL Certainty 9.5
Country USA
Position LW
Roster Type NCAA
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth October 2, 2002
Height 6‘3”
Weight 210 lbs
Drafted 2021 Round 2; Overall: 57

Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2013-2014 HC BratislavaQC Int PW AA Elite3 0 11 0|        
 2014-2015 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes QC Int PW2 2 02 2|        
 2015-2016 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes 13U AAAT1EHL 13U15 9 716 16|        
  West Coast Selects U14WSI U149 3 25 2|        
 2016-2017 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes 14U AAAT1EHL 14U8 8 210 0|Playoffs6 0 22
  TPH Selects U15WSI U154 2