Matthew Knies made his long awaited NHL debut with the Leafs last week, showcasing his potential as an impact player through the final three games of the regular season, but it appears he will be on the outside looking in when the Leafs begin their pursuit of postseason glory on Tuesday.
Knies’ first taste of NHL action came against the Florida Panthers last Monday, skating on a line with Noel Acciari and Alex Kerfoot. Despite a few rookie mistakes which were to be expected, he didn’t look out of place and showed flashes of how he could help this Leafs team. Known for being a handful along the boards because of his quick hands, willingness to engage physically, and his ability to protect the puck, Knies put those skills to use when he put veteran Marc Staal in a blender on one of his first pro shifts.
I think Knies will be okay pic.twitter.com/6ney8VVFMc
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 10, 2023
He forced a couple of risky plays when facing pressure in his debut, but that is to be expected from anyone stepping out of college hockey and directly into the NHL. For the most part, Knies handled the pace admirably and made some of those slick small-area plays that were such a hallmark of his game in the NCAA. His ability to execute skilled plays in tight or along the wall with opposing players closing in on him was immediately apparent when he did some great work on the boards to come away with a contested puck and find Kerfoot …
Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation