Welcome back to Top Shelf 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 2021 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 Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “2021 NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Matthew Knies Scouting Report.
A late-2002 birthday, Matthew Knies was expected to take another step in the USHL with Tri-City Storm. Many analysts saw him as a possible first-round pick heading into this season. Unfortunately, Knies started to slip down the rankings due to a slow start and lack of production. However, he managed to salvage something and really came on down the stretch with 23 points in his last 15 games. Knies put up 17 goals and 25 assists for 42 points in 44 games this year. Despite Tri-City losing in the first round, Knies stayed hot in the playoffs with a goal and three assists for four points in three games.
Drafted in the 3rd round, 38th Overall in the 2018 USHL Futures Draft, Knies spent most of the 2018-19 season playing Midget AAA in Phoenix. He played just two games for Tri-City. In 2019-20 Knies spent the season with the Storm and made a real impact. He was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team. Knies scored 14 goals and 31 assists for 45 points in 44 games. Next season Knies will head to the NCAA and play his college hockey for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Matthew Knies Scouting Report
Left Wing — shoots Left
Born October 17th, 2002 — Phoenix, Arizona
Height 6’3″ — Weight 210 lbs [191 cm / 95 kg]
Knies needs to continue to work on his skating. His first step is a little clunky and this hurts him in getting going. He also has a choppy stride and skates a little too upright. This hurts his explosiveness, as he needs to work on both his acceleration and top-end speed. Knies uses his smarts to keep up with the play but could really stand to work with a good skating coach to improve this aspect of his game. Knies has decent edgework and agility though. He can make a quick move to get past a defender and open up a shooting or passing lane. He is strong on his skates but could be even better if he improves his skating technique and lowers his centre of gravity. This will make him even better at fighting through checks and getting to the net.
Knies is a very creative player. He can stickhandle in tight spaces and extend plays for teammates to get open. With his hands and agility, he can beat defenders in tight spaces. Knies loves to take the puck to the front of the net. Knies also protects the puck well down low in the cycle game. He also has the passing skills to get the puck through tight areas and find an open teammate for a scoring chance. His vision and hockey IQ is a bit of a question mark though. There are times when Knies makes one too many moves instead of getting the puck to a teammate. This can lead to him getting into trouble and losing the puck.
Knies can also score goals. He is strong in front of the net and creates issues for goalies when he gets there. He is willing to go to the net without the puck and fight for position, tip-in teammates shots, and pounce on rebounds. Knies also has a powerful wrist shot with good accuracy. He can work on his release though. If he gets his shot off a little quicker and with more deception, he will be an even bigger threat to goalies. Knies isn’t afraid to get involved physically and does a good job on the forecheck.
Knies defensive game is a bit of a work in progress. His lack of speed as well as the fact he can sometimes try to do too much in the offensive zone and turn the puck over can be a liability at times. When he turns the puck over deep in the offensive zone, he can be caught up ice and away from the play. He also has a tendency to try and cheat on the breakout, leaving the zone before he is sure of his team’s breakout. When he applies himself, he does a good job of containing the cycle and cutting down passing lanes but needs to be more consistent in this area of his game.
Projection and Comparison
Knies could be a top-six winger in the NHL if he reaches his ceiling. The puckhandling and passing skills, combined with his size make for an ideal combination. However, he will need some time to work on his skating and his defensive game. He should play NCAA hockey for the next two or three years and work on improving these areas of his game. Knies’ game is reminiscent of David Perron. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Matthew Knies that are available on youtube and Twitter.
Matthew Knies @TriCityStorm (#19) adds 2 goals and 1 assists last night, including this snipe!🚨
— Dylan Krill (@dylan_krill) April 18, 2021
Matthew Knies @TriCityStorm (#19) has been climbing up draft rankings and he’s deserving of it.
This was a great PK shift, displaying his soft hands and determination to put the puck in the net!🚨
— Dylan Krill (@dylan_krill) April 16, 2021
Matthew Knies' ('21) 14th goal of the season.
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) April 18, 2021
Watching some Matthew Knies and he is nice pic.twitter.com/28mfSA4GF2
— Sabremetrix 📊 (@Sabremetrix) November 13, 2020
Matthew Knies @TriCityStorm (#19) with a nice quick snap for a nice goal!🚨
Heating up with 10 points (2G,8A) in his last 7 games🔥
— Dylan Krill (@dylan_krill) April 2, 2021
— John Gove (@PodStreetGove) April 22, 2021
Check back later for our latest draft article.
Matthew Knies Scouting Report Main Photo:
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) March 4, 2020