Will the Toronto Maple Leafs’ young forward Matthew Knies be a Calder Trophy contender this season? That’s the topic of this post.

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Matthew Knies Is a Rising Star

Although young talent is constantly emerging in the NHL, some young players somehow simply captivate fans with their skill and potential. One such player is Matthew Knies of the Maple Leafs. Although most hockey pundits believed the transition between collegiate hockey and the NHL would be tough, last season Knies came in and immediately looked right at home.

Now expectations for the upcoming 2023-24 season are high. As a result, Knies looks to become a solid fixture on the Maple Leafs’ top-six unit. If that can happen, he seems positioned to become a strong contender for the Calder Trophy, which is awarded to the NHL’s top rookie.

In this post, I’ll explore why I believe Knies has what it takes to win the prestigious Calder Trophy and become a mainstay on this Maple Leafs’ lineup.

Matthew Knies Is Exceeding Expectations

At just 20 years old, Knies has the potential to be a key player in the Maple Leafs lineup. He has already shown that he has the tools and the work ethic to excel in the NHL. Although his entire NHL career is limited to 10 games, in those games he’s proven himself to be strong, fast, and highly skilled.

Perhaps he even surprised the Maple Leafs organization. It didn’t take long before Knies became a fixture in the team’s top six for the upcoming season. This opportunity to play significant minutes with seasoned veterans not only will help the team, but it could also become a breakthrough rookie campaign.

Matthew Knies, Maple Leafs

Matthew Knies Depends on Hard Work and His Mentors

Over the offseason, Knies has been intensively training in Arizona. There he’s been working out with his teammate Auston Matthews. As such, Matthews has become a bit of a mentor to Knies.

This opportunity, when combined with Knies’ exceptional work ethic, should contribute to Knies’ development as a player. Matthews is a fellow Arizona native. He’s also one of the league’s elite players. All that combines together to help Knies refine his skills and lift his performance on the ice.

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Matthew Knies Should Be in the Calder Trophy Contention

Knies’ skill set is only beginning to reveal itself. If he gets a chance to play substantial minutes, Knies will likely be a prime candidate for the Calder Trophy. He’ll be expected to play around 15-18 minutes each. That should allow him a chance to gain experience and put up some healthy scoring numbers.

Because the Calder Trophy has a lot to do with scoring, Knies would have a chance to put up an impressive number of goals and assists. He’s already able to see the ice and create scoring opportunities for his teammates. These set him apart as a playmaker. He’ll learn more on the fly – experience is a good teacher.

By consistently producing points, Knies will undoubtedly put himself in the running for the title of the league’s best first-year player.

The Bottom Line

Knies will enter his rookie campaign with the Maple Leafs this season. He’s poised, if he stays healthy, to make a strong run for the Calder Trophy.

There’s no doubt that he has exceptional skills; however, perhaps his dedication is what sets him apart. As the upcoming season unfolds, I’m looking forward to seeing his impact on the ice and his fit within the team’s roster. If he’s as good as I believe he can be, the accolades will simply take care of themselves.

The upshot? The Maple Leafs’ pursuit of team success will be enhanced. And, if that’s true, Knies own success will also be enhanced.

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