TLN Prospect #1: Matthew Knies wreaks havoc as a new breed power forward

The rise of Matt Knies has truly been a sight to behold over the past year.
Entering the 2021-22 season, expectations were fairly muted for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ top pick from the 2021 draft. He wasn’t a significant faller in the draft, having been projected to go in the range in which the Leafs selected him, and slotted a modest seventh on last summer’s TLN Prospect Rankings.
Knies was a notable break from previous Toronto selections, listed at 6-foot-3 and over 200 pounds, but there wasn’t major hype surrounding him heading into the season. That changed pretty quickly.
Matt Knies’ emergence as a borderline dominant presence in the NCAA as a freshman vaults him to the top spot on the TLN Prospect Rankings.
Matt Knies
LW | Minnesota (Big Ten) | Age: 19 | 6-foot-3 | 210 lbs | Shoots: LAcquired: 2021 Draft, 57th Overall | 2021 Ranking: #7
Before we get into the breakdown of Matt Knies’ game and why he is TLN’s top prospect, it’s important to understand the context of his draft-eligible season and why he was available in the back half of the second round.
For a full deep dive into this topic, I covered it last summer as an intriguing storyline heading into the year. Essentially, Knies was significantly impacted in the first half of the 2020-21 season by COVID. He dealt with the virus himself and his team, Tri-City, also had an uncertain schedule that was in c …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation