Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Shiv on 01/03/11 at 11:38 AM ET
Jared Knight will forever be known as the 3rd best asset traded in the deal for Phil Kessel to Boston.
The 32nd Overall Pick in 2010 went to the Bruins from the Maple Leafs on top of two 1st Rounders, one of which consummated to Tyler Seguin. Unlike Seguin, of course, Knight receives no respect when discussing the value of the Kessel trade.
And perhaps deservedly so.
Knight was ranked 82nd among North American Skaters in Central Scouting’s Final Rankings. Combined with top European Skaters like Mikhael Granlund, Vladimir Tarasenko and Evgeny Kuznetsov, Knight was projected to go late in the 3rd or early in the 4th round. In fact, Jared Knight was not even invited to the NHL Scouting Combine.
But what the draft projections won’t tell you is that Jared Knight suffers from Diabetes.
Normally, health concerns tend to lower a player’s draft value. In Knight’s case, however, they helped increase his ranking.
In the summer of 2009, Knight began displaying several symptoms including fatigue and a lack of energy. He even lost 20 pounds unwillingly. His teammate, Leigh Salters, noticed the symptoms and asked Knight to get diagnosed. When the results were positive, Knight began taking Insulin to combat the ailment. He even tested himself and made adjustsments with shots between periods.
Not coincidentally, it was at this time that Knight’s play took off. In 63 games with the London Knights, he put up 57 points. His Center? Nazem Kadri.
Knight’s final ranking of 82nd among North American Skaters was actually significantly higher than CSS’ Mid-Term Rankings which had him ranked 123rd.
But even 82nd severely underrated Knight, his game and his work ethic.
The most widely-known facts about Knight are that he is incredibly strong on his skates, one of the best in the CHL at driving the net and constantly working on improving himself and his game. He is 5’ 11” and was drafted at 185 Pounds last June. In half a year, he is up to 202 Pounds. He is hard-nosed and battles in the dirty areas like the corners or in front of the net.
Unlike the prototypical Grinder though, Jared Knight has the skills of a sniper too. He shoots the puck from almost anywhere, off either foot, and finds a way to get the puck on net more often than not. He scores a lot of his goals around the crease and has great hands in tight. One of his best characteristics is his knack for getting his stick on the puck and creating scoring chances out of scrambles or plays where nothing seems available.
There are weaknesses in Knight’s game as well. His play in the defensive zone is shaky although improving and he is slowly seeing more time on the Penalty Kill in London because of it. His biggest problem though is taking bad and sometimes ill-timed penalties, but that is very much a by product of his style of play.
In many ways, Knight’s NHL projection would resemble Dustin Brown at its peak, although there is a long way to go till he gets there.
This season, Jared Knight has taken taken his play to a new level. Kadri’s departure has made Knight the go-to guy on offense. Through 35 games, he leads the London Knights with 16 Goals and 40 Points. His point production is increasing too, as he has put up 13 points in the last 8 games. Of course, his numbers fizzle in comparison to Kadri’s, who put up 93 points in 56 games last season.
But even though Jared Knight still has a ways to go before he can be mentioned in the same breath as Nazem Kadri or Tyler Seguin, one thing is for sure:
The Boston Bruins picked up a steal with that 32nd Overall Pick.
Special Thanks to die-hard London Knights fan and friend Scott Dogger for his input on this article.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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