This past week at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ development camp, the two top Maple Leafs’ draft choices over the past two years spent considerable time together. Matt Knies was the top Maple Leafs’ in 2021 (round two, 57th overall) and Fraser Minten was chosen in 2022 (round two, 38th overall).
Both had strong camps. When the camp was ending and the players and coaches were dispersing, the team’s Assistant General Manager and head of player development Hayley Wickenheiser had plenty to say about her charges. About Minten, she noted that he was a “Great kid, very smooth on the ice. He’s very young and physically, obviously, his explosive power and strength are going to come with time.”
Looking into Minten’s future somewhere down the road, Wickenheiser noted that “You can see that he thinks the game really well. We’re just trying to encourage him to play the game, not over-think situations because he’s so cerebral on the ice. But those are the skills that he has are very projectable into the way I think he can become an NHL player.”
Minten and Knies, Linemates for the Future?
During the development camp, Minten and Knies were paired together on the ice. If the Maple Leafs are planning far ahead, this might be a look into their future? Minten is a center and Knies is a left-winger. Minten will be heading back to the WHL’s (Western Hockey League) Kamloops Blazers; and, Knies will be heading back to the University of Minnesota. The plan is for Knies to return to the Maple Leafs’ organization come the Spring.
After their time. together, Knies had good things to say about his time playing with Minten. “He obviously is an incredible player. Super smart, skates well, two-way guy. Was fun to play with him.” That’s been something that Maple Leafs’ fans have learned from the development camp. Minten is intelligent, both on and off the ice. He’s a great pianist for example. Who knew?
As well, Minten looked forward to playing with Knies in the future. He suggested that “It’d be a cool thing to dream about for sure.”
Being on the Maple Leafs’ Roster Is Somewhere Down the Road
Minten was realistic when he added that it was a “long way to go for both of us.”
Still, he’s come to appreciate someone who might be a future linemate: “I think he’s (Knies) a really good guy. I got to know him this week and playing with him was really fun.” (from “Leafs prospects Fraser Minten, Matt Knies get a glimpse of a possible future together,” Kevin McGran, Toronto Star, 22/07/2022)