Development Camp 2013: Corban Knight

Ryan Pike
July 15 2013 08:02AM

 

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- pic via stat19

 

(Ryan is dutifully attending every day of the Flames development camp. We will continue to roll out all of the player profiles and interviews as he collects them.)

One of the biggest acquisitions of the summer for the Calgary Flames was Corban Knight. The big-bodied center was a star at the University of North Dakota (for the team formerly known as the Fighting Sioux), but opted not to sign with the team that drafted him, the Florida Panthers.

Traded to Calgary in mid-June for a fourth round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, Knight made his on-ice debut in Flames silks practice-type jerseys at this week's development camp. He noted in speaking with the media that the chance to make the team out of camp is one of the things that lured him to Calgary.

“That was one of the most exciting parts about getting traded here, the opportunity to step in and work for a spot out of training camp is every young guy's dream coming out of college or junior,” said Knight. “So I was extremely excited. I'm really looking forward to the fall and this camp's a good measuring mark of where I am and where I need to go.”

A native of High River, Knight's family were among those affected by the devastating flooding throughout southern Alberta in recent weeks. While his family is safe and he was able to recover some mementos – including his first goal puck and some jerseys from his college days – he admits that the ordeal has weighed on his mind over recent days. That said, his experience might not be a negative.

“Is is a distraction, but it's a good distraction,” said Knight. “I think it kind of brings you back down to Earth when you have everything taken from you like that. It makes you feel pretty spoiled to live in Canada where we live, and stuff like that. When something like that happens, it brings you back down and puts everything in perspective. It's a good distraction, I think. It makes you work harder and makes you realize you have to work for everything in this life.”

While it's yet to be seen if he'll pull on a #10 jersey for the Calgary Flames in the fall, development camp was his first try. Following the first day of on-ice work, he admitted that he wasn't sure if the events of the whirlwind few weeks he's had have fully been absorbed.

“To be honest, I'm not sure if it's really even sunk in yet,” he said. “I've done the signing and the trade and stuff, but it's still pretty surreal just to be back here in southern Alberta and be part of the organization. It's a dream come true.”

Pike's Development Camp Player Profiles

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Now in his fourth season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers and the Wrestling Observer.
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#1 BurningSensation
July 15 2013, 08:16AM
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In just over a year Feaster and Co have brought in; Jankowski, Knight, and Monahan as prospects at center.

That is a pretty radical transformation for a team that previously had Roman Horak and Max Power as the best rated pivots in the system.

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#2 vowswithin
July 15 2013, 08:28AM
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I think something we have seen trending is the team grabbing up Albertans. While I don't approve to grabbing those guys just because, I think its one way to motivate players to stick around through this rebuild.

Sure hope we can get things off the ground this year and score a few more little moves like we have so far. Keep the 4th, 5th and 6th rounds for prospects coming!

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#3 Kurt
July 15 2013, 09:00AM
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I know the Corbin Knight saves the world thing is a good joke. But joking aside I feel this kid is going to be crushed by unfair expectations... The fact that people mention him in the same breath as Monahan as an elite prospect is troubling to me.

Does anyone know what a realistic expectation is for this guy? I keep seeing 3rd line C, but wowza, thats one of the hardest jobs on an NHL team. Most 3rd line C's are veterans and I'd suggest that 100% of the rest of the 3rd line NHL C's have more than zero NHL games under their belt....

I'm just so jaded with the prospect hype lately. I feel like every guy walking in the door is elite calibre saviour of the world. I'm honestly asking, what is a realistic expectation of this guy in year 1, year 3, year 5??

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#4 Kent Wilson
July 15 2013, 09:12AM
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@Kurt

Depends what you mean by "3rd line center". Some guys on third lines face tougher circumstances, while there are other third lines that simply face-off against other third and fourth liners. I assume Knight will be limited to the latter in his rookie year - assuming he makes the team at all.

As for long-term, Im not sure. He doesn't project as elite or anything, that's for sure. We'll see how he does this season.

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#5 Kurt
July 15 2013, 09:35AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Depends what you mean by "3rd line center". Some guys on third lines face tougher circumstances, while there are other third lines that simply face-off against other third and fourth liners. I assume Knight will be limited to the latter in his rookie year - assuming he makes the team at all.

As for long-term, Im not sure. He doesn't project as elite or anything, that's for sure. We'll see how he does this season.

Thanks Kent... I assume that'll be a common line this year. "We'll see how he does this season". So many questions marks, should make for a fun year of analysis and evaluating (not so much winning).

I really have to say I'm the most excited I've been about the team in 4-5 years. AND I fully expect them to be terrible and finish bottom 5. Not sure how that makes sense... Funny what hope for the future can do.

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#6 Jeff Lebowski
July 15 2013, 09:58AM
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I like Knight's tools and it seems he's a good guy. I really don't want to spread anymore Gaudreau not signing anxiety but what was Knight's situation (why isn't he a Panther?)

I really don't know how prevalent it is for college drafted kids but when it happens it is remarkable. What was Knight saying while he was in Panther's org (leading them to believe he would sign?)

Are there any lessons the Flames can learn?

I know Conroy has mention Gaudeau, his agent, and when I hear Gaudreau I believe this is an honest kid and those fears specific to him are more chatter than anything else. However, Calgary has many college kids drafted...

Weisbrod and Conroy went that route so I'm of belief they keenly understand the many variables and tact required.

Regardless, Knight's heavy right shot and direct game are much appreciated. I'd really like to see how all these kids do on special teams this camp.

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#7 McRib
July 15 2013, 10:03AM
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@Jeff Lebowski

My best guess is Corbin Knight didn't want to play in Florida... Haha. The Panthers also have as deep a farm system as any right now in the NHL. The Flames are a better sell than the Panthers to say the least.

What's interesting is Knight said he only attended one Panthers Developmental Summer Camp, cleary it was evident he was unwilling to sign there from the get go. The fact that Gaudreau, Arnold & Agostino are here (all upperclassmen) paying there own way to this camp speaks volumes to them becoming Flames.

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#8 SmellOfVictory
July 15 2013, 10:04AM
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@Jeff Lebowski

Knight apparently was primarily dissatisfied with where he sat on the depth chart in the Panthers. He was behind a substantial number of young guys, and didn't think his chances of being in the NHL soon were all that good if he signed with Florida. I don't know if there were other factors as well.

He did tell them straight up that he wouldn't sign, and early in the off-season. If that kind of situation came up with Gaudreau, the Flames would have at least a month or so to garner a decent return for him. And the return would likely be substantial.

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#9 Kurt
July 15 2013, 10:29AM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

Knight apparently was primarily dissatisfied with where he sat on the depth chart in the Panthers. He was behind a substantial number of young guys, and didn't think his chances of being in the NHL soon were all that good if he signed with Florida. I don't know if there were other factors as well.

He did tell them straight up that he wouldn't sign, and early in the off-season. If that kind of situation came up with Gaudreau, the Flames would have at least a month or so to garner a decent return for him. And the return would likely be substantial.

End of the day, I'd suggest the depth chart and chances of making a team is all that matters to these kids. They have a loophole in the CBA where they can decide if they have a shot at making the team or a better shot elsewear.

Justin Schultz picked Edmonton. I think that says it all.... He was willing to go there not because they are good, the city is nice or he has family there. It was ALL, 100% about his chance at making the team.

I'd say its the same with Knight. He picked Calgary over Florida (or anywhere else) because he felt he had the best chance of making the team since we have no depth or prospects to compete with.

I wouldn't be worried about Johnny running off somewhere else for the same reason.

Any kid would rather jump in and get a nice fat ELC on a paper thin roster instead of fighting up through the AHL or maybe getting buried forever on a contending team. Its logical. If you could make 70K or 700K where would you sign? Its pretty simple, and just boils down to money... Being terrible helped the Oilers, now its our turn to reap the benefits!

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#10 McRib
July 15 2013, 10:31AM
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@Jeff Lebowski

Corbin Knight was one of the most well rounded prospects in the NCAA this year. Prospects like Nick Bjugstad get far more credit considering they were first rounder’s, yet when I watched them on the B1G Network Knight was always more noticeable. He has a great Hockey IQ, puts in tireless effort at both ends and shows up every night with very adequate tools. Knight is almost certainly going to end up as the third-fourth line centre this year and two or three years down the road he should become a very serviceable second line centre.

Most people are quick to point out that we have been excited about players in the past that have not panned out, but that was when scouts league wide ranked our farm systems among the worst 28-30. Most organizations now have us ranked in the Top. 10 since the draft in NJ. When you have one of the best farm systems in the league players tend to pan out far more often than being busts, because it’s the consensus around the league that people like our players.

Where players like Dustin Boyd or Ryan Howse a few years ago used to be our top prospects they wouldn’t even be on our radar at this point. Look at Michael Ferland he is a Dustin Boyd (toolsy junior scorer that needs to figure things out)!! Who’s talking about him as even a Top. 10 prospect in the system!?!?!?

The fact that Jon Gillies said Corbin Knight is the hardest player to stop at this camp makes me think he and Sean Monahan could be competing for that number one job for years to come.

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#11 vowswithin
July 15 2013, 10:36AM
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You guys watching the scrimmage today? Link is on the Flames website!

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#12 McRib
July 15 2013, 10:40AM
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Monahan (Gaudreau assit), Harrison (Penalty Shot) and Gaudreau (Monahan assit) with Goals in the first period. Red Leading 3-0. Harrison has been very raw, but impressively noticeable all camp.

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#13 everton fc
July 15 2013, 10:43AM
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McRib wrote:

Corbin Knight was one of the most well rounded prospects in the NCAA this year. Prospects like Nick Bjugstad get far more credit considering they were first rounder’s, yet when I watched them on the B1G Network Knight was always more noticeable. He has a great Hockey IQ, puts in tireless effort at both ends and shows up every night with very adequate tools. Knight is almost certainly going to end up as the third-fourth line centre this year and two or three years down the road he should become a very serviceable second line centre.

Most people are quick to point out that we have been excited about players in the past that have not panned out, but that was when scouts league wide ranked our farm systems among the worst 28-30. Most organizations now have us ranked in the Top. 10 since the draft in NJ. When you have one of the best farm systems in the league players tend to pan out far more often than being busts, because it’s the consensus around the league that people like our players.

Where players like Dustin Boyd or Ryan Howse a few years ago used to be our top prospects they wouldn’t even be on our radar at this point. Look at Michael Ferland he is a Dustin Boyd (toolsy junior scorer that needs to figure things out)!! Who’s talking about him as even a Top. 10 prospect in the system!?!?!?

The fact that Jon Gillies said Corbin Knight is the hardest player to stop at this camp makes me think he and Sean Monahan could be competing for that number one job for years to come.

If Ferland can learn how to be a pro, if he can mature a little... He'll indeed be a top-10 prospect. Perhaps better than Knight. Remember, Ferland started playing hockey at a much later age than most. Look how far he's prgressed, in such a short time. And that wrist shot - NHL calibre.

All of us should be rooting for Ferland to figure things out. As for Knight, we shall see.

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#14 FireOnIce
July 15 2013, 10:49AM
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Only problem with Ferland is if he gets found guilty of beating up the dude in Cochrane.

They skipped the preliminary trial stuff (to see if they had enough evidence to go to trial) and went straight to trial. After he had requested they do the preliminary thing (don't know the official name of it). I think his trial starts this week or next.

Not good if we have a player found guilty of drunken violence. The US won't look too kindly on him entering the country, and there could be other ramifications (jail, etc.). Hopefully he doesn't end up in the pokey.

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#15 McRib
July 15 2013, 11:02AM
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@everton fc

I agree if Ferland can learn to be a pro and mature a "lot" he is a Top. 10 Propspect, but Knight has similar offensive upside is already mature as hell and brings it every night at both ends with a much better Hockey IQ.

Knights worstcase projection (Third Line Centre) at this time is most likely Ferlands best case (Bottom Six Winger). In terms of NHL Prospects this season in the NCAA only a select few stood out more than Corbin Knight (Jacob Trouba, Johnny Gaudreau.... some would say Nick Bjugstad, Anders Lee, Drew LeBlanc, Danny Dekeyser, Michael Matheson). If North Dakota did not loose to Yale in the quarter finals (In OT) and went on to win the NCAA Championship. Knight wins the Hobey Baker over Drew LeBlanc and Flames fans are talking about him as the next coming of Justin Schultz.

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#16 McRib
July 15 2013, 11:12AM
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Markus Granlund Scorer on an intercepted pass 3-1 Team Black is on the board.

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#17 McRib
July 15 2013, 11:13AM
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Dan O'Donoghue Scores for Team Black in a scramble out front. Then John Ramage scores for Team Red (Gaudreau and Monahan get the assits both with three point efforts) Team Red 4-2.

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#18 schevvy
July 15 2013, 11:26AM
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Did you ask Corban Knight how it felt to save everybody from the Mayan apocalypse?

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#19 Jeff Lebowski
July 15 2013, 11:28AM
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I wonder how much the hike up Sulphur (and the cumulative effects of camp) are having on some guys legs? Jankowski- uninspired so far.

Wotherspoon and Ramage are really, really great unassuming players. The have really good understanding of details and an economy in their play (not running around out of position). Wotherspoon played this mini 2-1 in first period (pretty much at left circle) so well. He never gave any option but a tough angle shot, while still threatening to kill the guy if he tried to cut across crease. He just looks like an NHL d man, right now. Like I hope he bumps Butler out.

Ramage just understands how to play a simple effective game.

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#20 RickT
July 15 2013, 11:35AM
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I am finding Klimchuk to be noticeably bad today. I keep looking up 52 to see who turned the puck over, or fell on his ass.

He made one good play by the net to force a turnover. Everything else has been meh, or bad.

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#21 McRib
July 15 2013, 11:45AM
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Turner Elson converts a Josh Jooris Pass its now 5-3 Team Red. Turner Elson is easily the biggest surpise in this camp. Watched him 10+ times in the last two years and he has never done anything for me until this camp.

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#22 McRib
July 15 2013, 11:57AM
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@RickT

Considering guys like Josh Jooris are five years older than Morgan Klimchuk. I'm not that concerned.

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#23 mattyc
July 15 2013, 12:07PM
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@Jeff Lebowski

Hiking up Suphur mnt. really should be draining these kids too much. But definitely a week of high intensity/stress camp would.

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#24 Dave
July 15 2013, 12:42PM
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I was only able to watch bits and pieces of the scrimmage online today but I'm impressed with the level of play. I'm very excited to watch Monohan play long term for the Flames. He is going to be a very special player. Before the draft I was torn between who I thought the Flames should take (Monohan or Lindholm). I've totally forgot about that now and am just %100 impressed with Monohan.

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#25 Baalzamon
July 15 2013, 12:45PM
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@McRib

Someone actually scored on a penalty shot? Wow.

How do the goalies look?

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#26 Scary Gary
July 15 2013, 12:49PM
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@McRib

Thanks for the updates!

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#27 McRib
July 15 2013, 01:45PM
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@Baalzamon

5-3 Final: Team Red Goal Scorers: (Monahan, Gaudreau, Tim Harrison, Ramage & Ferland). Team Black (Granlund, O' Donoghue & Elson).

We almost had two penalty shot goals as Jankowski fired a bullet beating PC teammate Gillies, but he hit the post.

Sean Monahan & Johnny Gaudreau were dominant every time they stepped on the ice both ended up with three point efforts. The standout defense pair was John Ramage & Brett Kulak who shutdown everyone. This is the second scrimmage where Kulak was part of the best pairing for me (Saturday I believe he was with Wotherspoon). Of note Reto Berra quietly put together a solid performance in goal for Team Red, while Gillies, Brossoit & Hoffman all looked fairly decent facing the most action.

The surprise line was the Elson-Josh Jooris-Linden Penner all of which have impressed in camp for me. If we could convince Linden Penner to play in the WHL next year, I would sign him immediately, a la Turner Elson two years ago. Never been the biggest Elson fan, but talk about a performance here. Coda Gordon should also receive a contract after this camp and should be in for a big year. Tim Harrison was also getting under everyones skin today as well, plus he scored on a breakaway. He was impressive to say the least after no one knew who he was before this week, Haha. Our New England Scouts continue to knock it out of the park it seems.

Agostino & Jankowski created some good chances, but just couldn’t finish. Also of note Sven Baertschi left in the third period and we are supposed to have a story later today on his status.

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#28 TRAV
July 15 2013, 02:09PM
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@McRib

Agree with McRib's assessment. Thought that Jooris was a real solid centre. Agressive on the puck winning many battles. Worked super hard.

Really liked Harrison this camp. Showed some skill and played with an edge! Strong on the right side. Loved his response after the Baertchi cheap shot. Went in and scored on his penalty shot.

Noticed Sieloff as he carried the puck a ton, made some good passes. Seemed a bit all over the place in his own zone. Kind of a mixed bag.

Thought Arnold had some moments when he showed some surprising creativity with the puck.

Poirier is fast. Strong on the back check and forced some turnovers. Liked what I saw from him today. Klimchuck also looked more solid as he made some good passes and was strong on the puck.

LOVED Gaudreau. Two plays really stood out to me. He took a pass from mid air in traffic and calmly brought it to his stick where he dished it out. Also he made a cross crease saucer tape to tape in the offensive zone to a trailer for a great chance. This kid is fun to watch. Seems so much more poised this year than last. Hoping that the Monahan Gaudreau pairing is one that is good for us in the future.

Lastly was a bit disappointed not to see some response from team black after the questionable hit from Trey Lewis (on Eddy I think). Was watching to see if someone might chirp or give him a little shot behind the legs, nothing. It seems to me that in a tryout camp having a few words at some point in the game would show some qualities the Flames are looking for in prospects. I guess with so much talk about Grit by the brass if I were a kid trying to be noticed sticking up for an injured teammate would be an easy way to get noticed.

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#29 everton fc
July 15 2013, 03:04PM
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How did Roy look? And Horak?? Curious.

(Should I once again ask about Ferland, as well?!)

@Fire/Ice Agree on the unfortunate (stupid) incident in Cochrane. Might derail his entire career. Time will tell. Sonner, than later, if the verdict doesn't go Ferland's way.

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#30 Clyde
July 15 2013, 03:45PM
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everton fc wrote:

How did Roy look? And Horak?? Curious.

(Should I once again ask about Ferland, as well?!)

@Fire/Ice Agree on the unfortunate (stupid) incident in Cochrane. Might derail his entire career. Time will tell. Sonner, than later, if the verdict doesn't go Ferland's way.

There are guys who killed people while driving drunk who went on to have pretty solid careers and still make money working for an Alberta NHL team. One bar fight won't determine whether Ferland makes it or not.

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#31 Kevin R
July 15 2013, 06:38PM
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Clyde wrote:

There are guys who killed people while driving drunk who went on to have pretty solid careers and still make money working for an Alberta NHL team. One bar fight won't determine whether Ferland makes it or not.

Hasn't hurt Kane's career.

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#32 loudogYYC
July 15 2013, 08:30PM
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Let's all just remember that Centre is one of the toughest positions to excel at at the NHL level.

I used to dislike Daymond Langkow because I didn't feel that he excelled at anything, but in reality he was good at everything. That's hard to find, and I think that's what Knight's ceiling is. Let's just be patient with the 22 year old and see what we have a year from now.

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#33 Kevin R
July 15 2013, 11:25PM
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loudogYYC wrote:

Let's all just remember that Centre is one of the toughest positions to excel at at the NHL level.

I used to dislike Daymond Langkow because I didn't feel that he excelled at anything, but in reality he was good at everything. That's hard to find, and I think that's what Knight's ceiling is. Let's just be patient with the 22 year old and see what we have a year from now.

Amen! Lets give some of these kids a chance over & above a few scrimmages at some rookie camp. We have some real decent talent coming up & we need to see the good the bad & the ugly during the course of a year.

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#34 piscera.infada
July 16 2013, 09:14AM
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@loudogYYC

I completely agree with you and Kevin R.

Especially re: the centre position. To be an effective centre, you don't need to be a 90 point scorer. The position relies more heavily on reading and reacting, as well as defensive positioning than the wing. Everything I've heard on Knight suggests he has those attributes in spades.

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#35 everton fc
July 16 2013, 09:49AM
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piscera.infada wrote:

I completely agree with you and Kevin R.

Especially re: the centre position. To be an effective centre, you don't need to be a 90 point scorer. The position relies more heavily on reading and reacting, as well as defensive positioning than the wing. Everything I've heard on Knight suggests he has those attributes in spades.

Logical comment. Agreed.

I hope Knight makes it. A 3rd line centre had value. So does a 4th line centre. Remember Moss in that role, here, on a line w/Prust & Nystrom. Best 4th line in the league, at the time.

A 4th line of goons and lugs is not what you want these days. You do need some grit, but it should be spread out on all four lines, with a fair level of skill. That's the ideal scenario. Has to be, in the 21st century!

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