Flames in on Corban Knight - Update: Confirmed

Kent Wilson
June 17 2013 07:44PM

 

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- pic via stat19

It was noted this evening by Edmonton radio host Bob Stauffer that the Flames may be making a play for former Panthers 5th rounder Corban Knight. A 22-year old center from High River, Knight recently completed his fourth season at the University of North Dakota where he scored 49 points in 41 games.

Knight's stock has increased since being picked by Florida in 2009. He was a better than a point-per-game producer in college after his freshman season and at 6'2", 200 pounds has the sort of size people are looking for in centermen.

Jason Gregor wrote an excellent profile of Knight recently:

Knight was very poised, polite and extremely humble during our phone interview. I’d say he offers more than just little offensive upside.

He was one of the 10 finalists for the 2013 Hobey Baker Award, handed out annually to the top NCAA men’s hockey player. Knight had a stellar senior year at UND. His accomplishments include:

Finishing in the top 10 in scoring in the nation;

A 19-game point streak, the longest at UND in the last 25 years;

Getting points in 29 games, second most in the nation;

Winning 60 per cent of his faceoffs. In fact, Knight’s past three seasons have been very consistent as he’s averaged 58 per cent in the faceoff dot.

...

Knight was very adamant that the strengths of his game are his defensive awareness and faceoffs, but he clearly possesses an offensive touch. He has steadily improved as a player, but he believes college allowed him to grow as a person.

Knight and his agent recently told the Panthers organization they would opt for free agency, which is why the player is available. He sounds like he falls in the org's wheelhouse given how much Weisbrod and company have foregrounded things like character, hockey sense and collegiate atheletes since taking over.

Knight would also add another decent prospect at center, which is where the team would desperately like to build strength moving forward. I don't think he has a high upside as a scorer in the show given his numbers, but at 22 and already a complete two-way player he could be much closer to jumping in and providing value relative to any of the kids the Flames will be taking in the draft.

Assuming they actually acquire and sign him of course. We'll update this article if that happens.

Update

Flames have announced this morning they have acquired Knight from the Panthers. No word on the price yet, but we'll update in the comments when that is released. Sounds like a 4th round pick. A very low cost to pay. 

Knight is a good addition to the Flames prospect pool. In the current top-15 rankings, he'd likey slot in the top-5 at the very least.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#2 Connections
June 18 2013, 04:42AM
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So it looks like Corbans dad is a hockey Chaplain for the Flames (and Stampeders). He comes from a pretty religious family.

Gotta think those connections make him more likely to sign in Cgy vs. other Cdn teams.

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#3 BJ
June 18 2013, 06:57AM
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Another question about FA status for prospects - If we weren't able to move Erixon would he have gone back into the draft?

Is this what happened with Stoll and Lombardi?

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#4 Parallex
June 18 2013, 08:35AM
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RexLibris wrote:

A 3rd for Knight would be a pretty astute move by Feaster. It would effectively shut down the draft for the Flames once the first round is over, but getting an NHL-ready body to fill out the middle and (hopefully) buy some time for Reinhart to develop is a good way to go.

A 3rd? For a guy originally drafted in the 5th, that's eligible for free agency in 58 days, that has already declared that he'll wait out the period prior to free agency rather then sign in Florida?

That's cra-cra. Florida has no leverage here they are going to lose him for nothing if they don't trade his negotiating rights and everybody knows that they are going to lose him for nothing. Most Legitimate NHL'ers don't warrent a 3rd in trade for their negotiating right and Knight is miles from being a surefire NHL player. I might be convinced to part with a 7th round pick for the window but a 3rd?... no way.

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#5 BurningSensation
June 18 2013, 12:25PM
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DSF wrote:

How can you say Mackinnon isn't a fit for Florida? I'm smarter than all of you and I say he's a fit for every team.

btw Knight will be an AHL player

book it

A. MacKinnon is indeed a fit for every team - save maybe Pittsburgh.

B>. Knight will almost certainly spend some time in the AHL.

C. That said, I think it is also a certainty he gets time in the NHL. He'll get a 4-10 game cup of coffee next year.

Book it.

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#6 BurningSensation
June 18 2013, 12:37PM
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DSF wrote:

Congrats on using a dictionary. My opinion is valid nonetheless.

I'd quit the antagonism while you are behind.

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#7 Justin Azevedo
June 17 2013, 07:48PM
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I'd have him 3 on my list

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#8 Robert Cleave
June 17 2013, 07:52PM
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I asked UND grad fetch9 about him on Twitter, and his take was about like everyone else's. Good faceoff guy and passer, responsible, not the best skater, likely to top out as a 3C on a good team.

Given the absence of depth in the org., as long as the Flames don't give up too much for him, it fits what they need. The fact he's a GAB doesn't seem as important to the team as when Darryl was running things, but if he's motivated to come home, it might make him a bit more willing to sign.

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#9 Austin
June 17 2013, 07:58PM
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Why does Stoffer assume that Edmonton is not going to get him? And Corey Pronman projects him to being a top 6 player. Give up our 3rd rounder for him. This is a guy that will play top 9 next year and will hopefully pan out as a top 6 eventually. That is easily worth a 3rd round pick. I don't want to risk having better teams have a shot at signing him.

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#10 TheRealPoc
June 17 2013, 08:03PM
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This would be a fantastic acquisition.

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#11 RexLibris
June 17 2013, 08:25PM
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A 3rd for Knight would be a pretty astute move by Feaster. It would effectively shut down the draft for the Flames once the first round is over, but getting an NHL-ready body to fill out the middle and (hopefully) buy some time for Reinhart to develop is a good way to go.

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#12 Greg
June 17 2013, 09:06PM
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Can someone please explain why these college players can decide to be free agents after they were drafted? If its an option for any of them, why wouldn't all of them go that route? And what prevents Johnny Gaudreau (or any of our college prospects) from going that route?

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#13 RexLibris
June 17 2013, 09:26PM
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Greg wrote:

Can someone please explain why these college players can decide to be free agents after they were drafted? If its an option for any of them, why wouldn't all of them go that route? And what prevents Johnny Gaudreau (or any of our college prospects) from going that route?

Any drafted prospect can choose not to sign an ELC and thereby either re-enter the draft or become a free-agent.

Justin Schultz was a bit of a legal oddity in that he left college one year early to become a free-agent.

Riley Nash chose not to sign with the Oilers in 2010 and was traded to Carolina in a situation almost identical to the Tim Erixon situation in Calgary.

If Gaudreau were not happy with his development or chances of becoming a professional with the Flames he could absolutely refuse to sign an ELC and thereby become a free-agent.

Also, for many players if they have a team offering them an ELC they would far rather take that offer than risk getting nothing by putting their skills on the open market. Bird in the hand and all that.

From what little I have picked up about this, generally it is easier for a college player to take this route than a junior player, partially due to the four-year window between draft age and the end of NCAA eligibility. But there are wiser men in that developmental arena than I who can probably shed more light on it.

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#14 RKD
June 17 2013, 09:30PM
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He is a big centerman, but what is his upside? Hockey Futures have him rated as a C prospect, no different than Hanowski or Agostino. They also said he would probably be a checking line player in the NHL.

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#16 RexLibris
June 17 2013, 09:43PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Corey Pronman is much higher on him. Notes he was elite defensively and still scored at a high rate in college. Says the only question mark about him is mediocre skating.

If I recall the Stauffer bit on Knight he compared him to an upgrade on Vande Velde which reflects the questions on his skating.

The positive there is that it is a far easier thing to teach a player to improve their skating, even a small bit, than to teach them defensive awareness or faceoff prowess.

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#17 Colin
June 17 2013, 10:00PM
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Greg wrote:

Can someone please explain why these college players can decide to be free agents after they were drafted? If its an option for any of them, why wouldn't all of them go that route? And what prevents Johnny Gaudreau (or any of our college prospects) from going that route?

It's an option for any drafted player, a team can hold on to any drafted players rights for only so long. In most cases very few players don't exercise this option as getting signed earlier means that you at least have an NHL contract, especially later round guys, where if they don't get a contract they may never see professional hockey again.

Gaudreau can go this route if he likes as well, Feaster/Wisebrod should be communicating regularily with our College guys to test the waters of a contract and see what their mood towards one is. So that if the player wants to go the UFA route rather than sign in Calgary he can be traded sooner rather than later cause if we wait till a scenario like this you get very little return.

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#18 ChinookArch
June 17 2013, 10:01PM
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Aside from Feaster and Wisebrod's bluster, intellectual arrogance, and penchant for BS when speaking publically to fans, you gotta like the work they put forward when looking to improving the talent on this team. If ths is true, it's hard not to like the general direction.

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#19 Karasu89
June 17 2013, 10:12PM
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is bob stauffer all we are basing this on?

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#20 SmellOfVictory
June 17 2013, 11:03PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Any drafted prospect can choose not to sign an ELC and thereby either re-enter the draft or become a free-agent.

Justin Schultz was a bit of a legal oddity in that he left college one year early to become a free-agent.

Riley Nash chose not to sign with the Oilers in 2010 and was traded to Carolina in a situation almost identical to the Tim Erixon situation in Calgary.

If Gaudreau were not happy with his development or chances of becoming a professional with the Flames he could absolutely refuse to sign an ELC and thereby become a free-agent.

Also, for many players if they have a team offering them an ELC they would far rather take that offer than risk getting nothing by putting their skills on the open market. Bird in the hand and all that.

From what little I have picked up about this, generally it is easier for a college player to take this route than a junior player, partially due to the four-year window between draft age and the end of NCAA eligibility. But there are wiser men in that developmental arena than I who can probably shed more light on it.

If I recall correctly - and I may well not (the CBA is a horrifying thing) - that four year span is the big thing with college free agents. It's four years over which, if they're in the NCAA, the team cannot sign them or they will lose NCAA eligibility. So there's no signing of tentative NHL contracts like players in the CHL or Euro leagues.

In addition, that four year window means that college FAs don't have to re-enter the draft should they choose not to sign, and they are well-taken care of (relatively speaking) during the four years until they can decide to become UFA. In Junior, most kids would have to re-enter the draft if they chose not to sign, unless they were drafted after their initial year of draft eligibility the first time around. This is simply a function of the age of the players once the team loses sole ownership of their signing rights.

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#21 ChinookArch
June 18 2013, 06:36AM
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@Connections

Or maybe he loves Being away from home. I see where your going, and you'd have to expect that the Flames have done some early legwork, but the kid has a big life altering decision to make. Without any other information, who knows what is possibly going through his mind.

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#22 Greg
June 18 2013, 06:45AM
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@SmellOfVictory

That's the part I'm not clear on - I get that an unsigned junior player has to go back through the draft if they aren't signed after 2 years. But with college players, it seems like teams still have their rights for all 4 years of college, but once they are done they can choose to sign wherever they want. Is it just because at that point they are 22+ and not draft eligible anymore?

Still begs the question - why wouldn't every college player go that route then? You can't sign until you are done school, and after that you can see which teams want you and pick where you want to play. Unless you aren't very good and think no one else will offer you a contract (in which case, it doesn't really matter anyway).

The bigger question is of course, doesn't that make drafting college prospects extremely risky? You spend 4 years waiting to harvest a draft pick and then lose them for nothing. Or is there something that discourages players from doing that, or protects teams if they do? There's gotta be something I'm missing here, or else college bound players would be discounted in the draft as much as Russians are, no?

Otherwise, all of Gaudreau, Jankowski, Agostino, and Gilles could do this and basically cut our worthwhile prospect pool in half...

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#23 Justin Azevedo
June 18 2013, 07:05AM
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@BJ

afaik, yes. it also happened with stoll and lombardi as well

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#24 BJ
June 18 2013, 07:06AM
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@ Kent & Rex. Skating is one thing that can definitely be improved with practice and hard work. That is why I think Feaster and Weisbrod value skill and hockey sense more than anything else.

Apparently Chris Breen has really improved over the last few years and may earn a roster spot out of camp according to Weisbrod. He could end up being what Mike Commodore could have been for us if he was properly developed.

So far I am seeing some good things concerning development under Feasty but we will have to wait and see how Baertshi, Horak, Breen, Reinhart, and Wotherspoon (etc) turn out. Under Sutter the only guys that were developed well that I can think of were Eric Nystrom and David Moss.

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#25 Justin Azevedo
June 18 2013, 07:17AM
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@BJ

skating strength can be improved. skating technique, especially after the age of 20, is damn near impossible to change.

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#26 gotommygo
June 18 2013, 07:35AM
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@Greg

'Still begs the question - why wouldn't every college player go that route then?'

In previous discussions on this site it was noted that the biggest disadvantage of this for the player is that he has to play all four years and then wait until August 15th to be released.

If you are a player in high demand this probably doesn't pose a problem, but for most it's not the best time to be shopping around for a team -- after they've all had their prospect development camps. I'm guessing that a lot of players that are NHL bound usually turn pro before their 4th year anyway, but, definitely something I'm worried about when it comes to Gaudreau. He will likely play all four years in the NCAA and will likely be in demand when he's finished.

In the case of Schultz, the difference is that he was released on June 1 rather than August 15th which allowed him to shop around during draft time.

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#27 negrilcowboy
June 18 2013, 08:01AM
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why bother.

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#28 RexLibris
June 18 2013, 08:13AM
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@Greg

European players are also given a longer window before draft rights expire depending on the age at which they were drafted. Four years for 18 and 19 year olds, two years for 20 year olds.

However, because those players are overseas in professional development leagues they often sign ELCs quickly which then don't kick in until they come over to North America.

So European prospects sit somewhere between the CHL/USHL players (draft and sign within two years or they go back into the draft) and NCAA (can't sign or receive so much as a roll of hockey tape or they lose NCAA status).

Here's the direct quote from the CBA:"NHL Clubs who draft European Players age 18 or 19 shall obtain four (4) years of exclusive negotiating rights following selection in the Draft. NHL Clubs who draft European Players age 20 orolder shall obtain two (2) years of exclusive negotiating rights following selection in the Draft. If the four-year or two-year (as appropriate) period expires, Player will be eligible to enter the League as a Free Agent and will not be subject to re-entering the Draft.

Current rules regarding exclusive negotiating rights for College Players will remain status quo. Parties to incorporate NHL/NHLPA Agreement on College Players leaving college prior to graduation(but following the fourth June 1 after date of Draft)."

The sweet spot for long-term development is to find 19 year old European players who can come over to North America around age 22 or 23. Sounds like the Detroit model.

Speaking specifically of the Flames' prospects in Gillies, Jankowski and Gaudreau there is nothing at all to prevent any of them from becoming a free agent. But at the same time there is nothing to prevent any drafted prospect from refusing to sign (Eric Lindros as an example, CHL player selected 1st overall).

Considering the forfeiture of control and professional freedom a player makes by submitting to the draft it is actually rather surprising it doesn't happen more often.

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#29 SmellOfVictory
June 18 2013, 09:02AM
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@RexLibris

I think most kids have enough humility to recognize that being drafted is a substantial boon, and it's better for their career if they don't screw around with attempting to hit UFA status, etc. unless they absolutely hate the team/city that drafted them.

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#30 RexLibris
June 18 2013, 09:07AM
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@Parallex

I'm just repeating the reports that have come out about what the Flames are offering.

And while Knight was taken in the 5th, his value as a prospect is probably closer to that 3rd/4th round range, considering that he looks to be able to deliver on an AHL career at the very least, if not challenge for a bottom six NHL spot.

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#31 Mark
June 18 2013, 09:08AM
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Millions had a good point... Knight could be part of a bigger deal between Florida and Cgy. I say give Florida whatever they want for pick 2. Florida is in a position that they are looking for help now. Mackinnon does not necessarily fit Florida. What are the chances Colorado takes Mackinnon at 1? I don't see it happening

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#32 RexLibris
June 18 2013, 09:08AM
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@SmellOfVictory

Yup.

It'd be a pretty cocky kid that has an NHL come to him with a contract and says "no thanks, I'll try my luck on the open market".

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#33 Parallex
June 18 2013, 09:31AM
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RexLibris wrote:

I'm just repeating the reports that have come out about what the Flames are offering.

And while Knight was taken in the 5th, his value as a prospect is probably closer to that 3rd/4th round range, considering that he looks to be able to deliver on an AHL career at the very least, if not challenge for a bottom six NHL spot.

I havn't seen any reports about what the Flames are offering. Linkies?

I get that he's improved while at UND... but if his true value has been credited to the 3rd round level on a talent basis I would think that it ought be debited back to the seventh on the basis of negligable leverage to Florida and the short period of rights control. I would absolutely NOT pay a 3rd round pick for just the negotiating rights to someone that looks to be able to deliver on an AHL career at the least... not when the negotiating rights of legitimate NHL'ers (legitimate NHL stars even) go for less. That would be a bad overpay IMO.

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#34 Baalzamon
June 18 2013, 09:40AM
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Are the Flames alowed to talk to Knight at all before doing stuff? It would suck if they pulled the trigger on a trade only for him to refuse to sign because he hates everything Calgary Flames.

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#36 loudogYYC
June 18 2013, 10:52AM
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Knight for a 4th! Just went down! Nice job Flames.

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#37 icedawg_42
June 18 2013, 10:57AM
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loudogYYC wrote:

Knight for a 4th! Just went down! Nice job Flames.

Ah! ya beat me to it!

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#38 Parallex
June 18 2013, 10:58AM
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More then I'd have paid... but better then a third I guess. Better get him signed. Really should have been a conditional pick (although I'm going to assume that the lack of conditions reflects the certainty that he'll sign).

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#39 Baalzamon
June 18 2013, 11:02AM
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I seriously would not have called the Flames getting Knight. Now hopefully they can get him (and Brodie and Backlund) signed.

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#40 piscera.infada
June 18 2013, 11:06AM
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The interview with Feasty claims they were granted permission to speak with Knight and his agent - it sounds like there's no doubt they'll get a deal done.

More centre depth! Gotta love that, regardless of his perceived ceiling. Seems like a character kid,

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#41 Baalzamon
June 18 2013, 11:08AM
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So basically, the 3rd line of the future is Reinhart - Knight - Arnold. Not a bad mix, and they're all centers.

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#42 loudogYYC
June 18 2013, 11:11AM
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@Parallex

The official Flames statement says they've talked to him and he's expressed interest in starting his career in Calgary.

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#43 Southern_Point
June 18 2013, 11:19AM
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Wow I'm real impressed with Feaster on this one, gets at the very least a depth centre who can win a faceoff possibly more for a fourth rounder. Excellent move

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#44 Teamsupreme
June 18 2013, 11:36AM
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now are the flames going to pick a centre with this 6th overall?

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#45 Teamsupreme
June 18 2013, 11:36AM
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now are the flames going to pick a centre with their 6th overall?

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#46 RexLibris
June 18 2013, 11:37AM
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So the Flames now have three 1st round picks, a 3rd round pick, Columbus' 5th rounder, a 6th, and two 7th rounders. Nine picks in all.

While I'm sure there will be plenty of hyperbole and propaganda surrounding the Flames' selections this year, the 2013 draft cohort will inarguably be Feaster's stamp on this franchise for the next five years. We wait to see what becomes of it.

Oh, and thanks to Tambellini's interest in Jerrod Smithson, the Panthers have the 96th and 97th picks in the 4th round.

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#47 Big Ell
June 18 2013, 11:37AM
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Gotta give Feaster credit. Another prospect for a 4th rounder. Another asset to add to the developmental pool. When was the last time a pseudo-FA NCAA player choose the flames? God willing it will erase the stink of Erixon.

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#49 SmellOfVictory
June 18 2013, 11:47AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

If a center is the best guy available, sure. Knight is a full 4 years older than any guy they'll get in the draft, so it's not really an issue. Plus, none of the guys we're talking about are guaranteed to make the team, either now or down the road.

When it comes to kids, just try to collect as much quality as possible and don't worry about depth chart clashes. If/when there's a logjam at the actual NHL level, then you can deal with it.

One would also hope that whomever is chosen at 6th overall ends up with a higher ceiling than Knight seems to have (which the kid himself has said is likely 3rd line).

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