We continue today our profiles of potential Hurricanes draft selections for the 2019 NHL Draft. If you missed our earlier profiles, they’re linked here: Samuel Poulin (our Mock Draft selection), John Beecher, Nick Robertson, Nils Hoglander and Patrik Puistola.
- PpDOB: 4/19/2001
- Team: USNTDP
- G | Catches: L | 6’3”, 191 pounds
- 2018-19 Stats: 16 GP - 2.21 GAA, .903 SV% (USHL GP)
Knight is one of the most decorated US-born junior goaltenders in history, and likely will be just the 29th player of his position to be selected in the first round tomorrow since 2000. Among the netminders drafted in the first round since the turn of the century is a who’s who of Vezina nominees, and others who never never lived up to their lofty draft position. Names like Marc-Andre Fleury, Tuukka Rask, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Carey Price litter the list, and are joined by those on the other side of the NHL success coin by players such as Riku Helenius, Adam Munro and Chet Pickard.
Over the years, judging the projection of goaltenders in the first round has been a gamble that NHL GMs have not been willing to take. Carolina has drafted a goaltender in the first round once since 2000, when they took Cam Ward 25th overall in 2002. Don Waddell has used a first rounder once as well, selecting Kari Lehtonen second overall in 2002 when he was the GM of the Atlanta Thrashers.
Like most goaltenders, Knight is not going to be a player who can jump to the NHL within the first couple years of being drafted as the development cycle is longer for his position. He will likely feature as the starting goaltender for Boston College this fall and follow a similar path to the one that 2017 first rounder Jake Oettinger is on (College/AHL/NHL).
The Connecticut native is the total package and everything that you could want in a goaltending prospect. He is patient, athletic, possesses a short memory, and has the uncanny ability to read and react when in net. His anticipation is elite, and he does not harm himself by playing over aggressive; rather letting his frame and his athleticism lead the way when making saves.
The term “quiet” is a positive term when describing goaltenders and fits well with the way that Knight plays where there is not a lot of over-exertion of movement. His projectable skills are above average to elite in nearly all facets of playing the position, from his technique, to his glove and blocker sides, to his puck handling.
It’s unlikely that the Canes pull the trigger on Knight (if he even makes it to 28th overall), but after stocking the system full of top-end talent for a handful of years, it would not harm their organizational depth. Getting a franchise goaltender is certainly the highest of rewards, and a risk that a team is almost certain to take in the first round on Knight.