Welcome back to Top Shelf Hockey Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2015 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2015 Draft Articles Click here.
Like many of his teammates with the Niagara Ice Dogs, Graham Knott started the season extremely slowly. However, Knott and the Ice Dogs really picked up their play after about 20 games and finished the season as one of the hottest teams in the OHL, and earned a playoff spot. Unfortunately, they were bounced in the second round. Knott finished the year with 25 goals and 43 points in 59 games. He had only two goals and four points in the Ice Dogs’ eleven playoff games though. Knott has plenty of international experience, playing for Team Ontario at the January 2014 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge, winning gold with Team Canada at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka tournament, and winning bronze with Team Canada at the 2015 IIHF World Under 18 Championships.
Left Wing — shoots Left
Born Jan 13 1997 — Holland Landing, ONT
Height 6.04 — Weight 190 [193 cm/86 kg]
Graham Knott has excellent size at 6’3″ and is another potential power forward in this draft. He loves to hit, and does so in all three zones. Knott gets in quickly on the forecheck, pressuring defenders into turnovers and finishing his checks. Knott plays a power forward’s game driving to the net with the puck on his stick, whether that means going around an opponent or through them. He gets to the front of the net without the puck, and battles hard for loose pucks in the corners. Knott is a pure goal scorer with the soft hands to finish in tight, to make deflections, and to pounce on rebounds. He uses his body effectively to shield the puck and extend plays in the cycle game. Passing isn’t Knott’s biggest strength, and he does not try to make overly creative plays, but he does keep the play moving down low. If there is a criticism it is that Knott must learn to play with a more consistent energy level game to game. There are games where he has a tendency to disappear, and not get as involved as he does when he is at his best. He will need to correct this going forward.
Graham Knott is a decent skater for his size. His top end speed is good, but he could stand to work on his first step quickness and acceleration. Work with a proper skating coach, could really help him to improve those first few steps. He has a powerful stride which allows him to fight through checks or to be punishing on the forecheck. Good lower body stength and balance help him to be difficult to knock of the puck and help him to win board battles. Knott is more of a power player than a finesse one, but his agility and edgework are decent for a player his size.
Knott is a strong two-way player. He has been trusted by Niagara coaches and used on the penalty kill since early in his rookie season. He continues his gritty and physical play along the boards in his own end supporting the defence down low against the cycle game. He pressures the puck well, and uses his big frame and an active stick to cut down on passing and shooting lanes. He makes smart plays when he does get the puck, being sure to get it out at the blue line and effectively start the transition game. His frame is a little bit thin right now, and if he can add some upper body strength he would get even better in containing opponents down low.
Graham Knott has the potential to be a second line powerforward in the NHL if he can reach his potential. With his good size and strong two way game, he is a relatively safe pick as even if he falls short of his ceiling, he could still be a solid third or fourth line forward. Knott’s game is reminiscent of Kevin Hayes of the New York Rangers, however this is a style comparison only and not one based on talent.
Below are some videos of Knott in action.
Bookmark the site and check pack soon for our latest draft article.