Graham Knott Brings Size, Skill Mixture That Chicago Blackhawks Need
At the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the Chicago Blackhawks had to wait until the 54th pick to make their first selection. The last time Chicago selected 54th overall, they picked Duncan Keith. Not too shabby. Last year, the Blackhawks selected winger Graham Knott from the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs.
Knott brings a mixture of size and skill to the table the Blackhawks organization could majorly benefit from. Players with a scoring touch like Knott’s that also have the physical stature that he does (6-foot-3, 190 lbs.) aren’t too common for prospects of his age.
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Here’s a bit about Knott’s offensive game, from NHL Scout Ben Kerr:
“Knott plays a power forward’s game driving to the net with the puck on his stick, whether that means going around an opponent or through them. He gets to the front of the net without the puck, and battles hard for loose pucks in the corners. Knott is a pure goal scorer with the soft hands to finish in tight, to make deflections, and to pounce on rebounds.”
Kerr adds more about Knott’s defensive abilities:
“Knott is a strong two-way player. He has been trusted by Niagara coaches and used on the penalty kill since early in his rookie season. He continues his gritty and physical play along the boards in his own end supporting the defense down low against the cycle game. He pressures the puck well, and uses his big frame and an active stick to cut down on passing and shooting lanes.”
On multiple occasions, Knott has said that he models his game after
of the New Jersey Devils, but to connect this to the Blackhawks fan base, has said that he could see himself playing much like
. Wouldn’t that be nice? (Just don’t end up like Saad did.)
OHL Success To NHL Success?
So far in Knott’s time with Niagara, he has been looked at as one of the leaders on the team and a major driving force behind the team’s success in the OHL. In 197 games with the IceDogs, Knott has tallied 112 points (48 goals, 64 assists), including back-to-back 40 point seasons in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
In three seasons with Niagara, Knott has played in 35 postseason games with 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) and helped the IceDogs to the OHL Finals, where they ultimately fell to the eventual Memorial Cup winners, the London Knights.
Knott played with the Blackhawks in training camp last summer before heading back to Niagara and is expected to play with Chicago in training camp again this summer. More than likely, Knott will return for his final year of eligibility with the IceDogs in the fall, unless he makes a big enough impact in training camp and makes the jump to the professional ranks — either getting a shot in Chicago or with the Rockford IceHogs.
Knott has a bright future ahead of him. Although he has the desirable size for an NHL level power forward, his frame is still slim and can stand to add a little more bulk to withstand the professional game.
If Knott can regain the form he saw in his second season in Niagara, when he scored a career-high 25 goals, his place in the NHL could be not that far away. He would fit nicely into a third- or second-line power scoring position, and could contribute on special teams as well. Imagine a 6-3, near-200-pound Knott screening goalies instead of 5-10 Andrew Shaw. There’s an idea.