Stay at home defenceman with exceptional skating skills. Positionally solid with high hockey IQ. Not known for his offensive production but does all the little things that coaches love.
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February 2021 – After a subpar start to the NHL season, Knyzhov is beginning to gain confidence and is trending in the right direction. His two assists through seventeen games may not excite fantasy owners, but Sharks fans should appreciate his hard-nosed defensive play as of late. Hard-nosed may sound like a bad pun since the rookie was left a bloody mess after chucking the mitts with Marcus Foligno in the first period of last week’s tilt between the Wild and Sharks. Nevertheless, it is nice to see the young blueliner step up and answer the bell. Expect Knyzhov’s numbers (especially plus minus) to improve as he gains more confidence in himself and from the coaching staff. Alex Howes
February 2020 – The San Jose Sharks have no shortage of defensive prospects in their system, including 22-year-old Nikolai Knyzhov. The young Russian impressed at training camp this year and earned a roster spot to begin the season. Through eight games this season, Knyzhov is yet to score a point, but that does not come as a big surprise. In fact, his five points in 33 games with the Barracuda last season were the most the youngster has ever produced in a single season (that has been recorded). Needless to say, fantasy owners will not have Knyzhov on their radar even in the deepest of leagues. Sharks fans should welcome a stay-at-home defender though, as the likes of Burns and Karlsson produce more offense than most NHL defencemen. For now, Knyzhov has found a home on the third pairing alongside Radim Simek as a shutdown line. It would not be surprising to see him move up the lineup and pair with a more offensive-minded partner if the Sharks don’t start winning some more games.