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Get to Know Graham Knott
Date of Birth: 1/13/1997
Place of Birth: Etobicoke, ON, CAN
Ht: 6’3” Wt: 192 lbs
Position: Left Wing
Team: Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Beyond an improved blueline, the biggest positional need for the Avalanche is a power forward wing that provides soft hands and a good net front presence. These types of players – particularly the good ones – are always in high demand around the league due to their reality rarity. However, there just might be such a player available for the Avs during the 3rd round. The name of that player? Graham Knott.
What Scouts See
A big-bodied power winger whose net front presence pays dividends at the end of the night. Strong skater, but could work on his acceleration with the puck. Transitions well and, as previously stated, likes to hang around the net and cause havoc. Good shot and, usually, quite accurate. All-in-all, the prototypical power winger that has the skill and determination to make an impact each shift.
Knott excels away from the puck in the offensive end. He’s aggressive in puck pursuit/on the forecheck and does a great job of gaining and maintaining possession along the wall. He also understands his role as a big body who needs to be near the crease. He gives up his body to cause havoc in front of the net and has become adept at redirecting pucks and is quick to rebounds. At 6’3, he plays the power game that he should.
Off the rush, his puck skill is actually above average and he’s able to make defenders miss. However he’ll need to improve his first few steps to make him more adept at creating scoring chances coming down the wing. Knott is also an excellent penalty killer who will block shots and does well to use his size to separate players from the puck. However, 5 on 5, he needs to improve his defensive focus to apply those PK skills to make him a consistently solid defensive forward.
The potential is there for him to develop into a very well rounded power forward type winger who can chip in 20 goals a year at the next level. I’m not usually a fan of comparisons, but I think Knott could have a similar impact to a guy like Dwight King (with the Kings).
What BSN Avalanche sees
I’ll admit – Knott’s speed distracted me from the rest of his game. His top speed is okay, but his first few steps and lateral movements are so slow it makes his overall play come across as passive. It’s something he desperately needs to work on before he’s ready to move on to the next level.
Beyond that, he does play a power forward game – driving the net, screening the goalie, and putting in rebounds. He enjoys initiating contact, uses his frame and balance well along the boards, and his forechecking is aggressive. His defensive instincts seem to be there as well, but his slower foot-speed makes judging him in that zone a bit more difficult. He does get a fair amount of PK time, so it’s clear that at least his coach trusts his prowess in that area.
He did score 25 goals this year, but it should be noted that in at least some of those games, he was a linemate of Josh Ho-Sang, a very talented player drafted last year. Goals are goals, but it does make one wonder how many of those tallies were opportunistic rebounds created by others, and how many were created by the play of Knott? He’s not a great passer, so it does bring into question how well his scoring will translate to the pro ranks.
Knott is still fairly raw, so it’s a bit difficult to say where he’ll end up. If he reaches the high end of his ceiling, he’s likely a 2nd line power forward left wing. If he misses, his size and defensive game (if his skating improves) could still make him a valuable depth addition.
Expected Draft Position
Central Scouting has him ranked at 57 among North American skaters, so it’s likely he’ll end up as a 3rd round pick. He’s a project, so he’ll move up or down depending on the talent level individual teams believe he can reach.
How Prospect Fits in Avalanche Organization
If Roy wants the team to get bigger, Knott certainly fits the bill. He already stands at just over 6′-3″ and has plenty of room left to fill out his frame. His style of play is big as well, which would be helpful out in the tough Western Conference.
However, the Avs already have a good deal of largely bottom 6 or top 6/bottom 6 swing players in the system. Knott might jump to near the top of the list in that regard, especially due to his size, but it’s still going to be years before he even has a shot at making the team.
If the Avs can grab him with their 3rd – or even better, 4th – round pick, he’d be worth the selection just to add a bit of variety to our prospect pool. He’s a project and should be treated as such, but if he reaches potential, he could help fill an organization need for power forwards. If not, his size still makes him a valuable defensive/depth asset.