Matthew Knies Might Be the Missing Piece for the Leafs

Matthew Knies Might Be the Missing Piece for the Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had awful playoff success since 2004, failing to make it past the first round in every year they have qualified for the playoffs. However, after the recent NCAA Men’s hockey season has ended; the Leafs will be adding Hobey Baker finalist, Matthew Knies.

Top Six

The first line consists of Michael Bunting, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner, which is already one of the best top lines in the NHL. With Matthews not having quite the same season he did last year, Marner has done more than enough to make up for it, making himself a super star this season.

The second line also has a player on the fringe of breaking into the superstar category, that being William Nylander. Nylander has all the puck skills in the world, and has used that to total back-to-back 80 point seasons. However, defensively he lacks fundamentals which is why you see him getting second line minutes.

The addition of Ryan O’Reilly at the deadline make this top six one of the best in the NHL, and gives the second line the defense they needed to be able to match up with other teams in the East, such as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins.

Captain John Tarves still is giving great minutes to round out the second line and the top six, and he will have to continue that as the Leafs will once again see the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round.

Bottom Six

The leafs bottom six, specifically this third line has been lacking compared to the other top teams in the East, and this is where Matthew Knies can be the X-factor. Knies is 6-foot-3-inches tall and weighs 230 pounds.

He is able to win puck battles in the corners and adds valuable defensive size and ability to make up against other teams best wingers. Knies could easily become a great offensive player as well, but that is not what he will be asked to do.

Any offensive production from Knies will make the Leafs even that much harder of an out in the playoffs, but his size and ability to win loose pucks could make this third line one of the better ones in the East, when you factor in him playing alongside Alexander Kerfoot, and Noel Acciari.


Without a doubt the most average unit for the Leafs will only Morgan Riley being a difference maker on the blue line. Everyone else, such as T.J. Brodie, Jake McCabe, and Mark Giordano are simple pieces that won’t win the game, but hopefully won’t lose it either.


Ilya Samsonov has given the Leafs their most consistent goaltending they have seen in years and this could help them, since they aren’t the deepest on the blue line. Overall, they will have to outscore their opponents when the playoffs finally start.


With arguably the best top six in the league, and the addition of Matthews Knies, which fits perfectly into their third line unit, the Leafs might be able to finally say this is their year.

I do believe they will beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round this year, but I don’t see them making the Stanley Cup finals due to their lack of depth at the blue line.

But, making it past the first round is a start of something in the right direction for this historic franchise, even if the fans wouldn’t agree.

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