Leafs number one priority should be Matthew Knies after free agency

James Connelly
May 25, 2024  (12:16)

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Matthew Knies
Photo credit: NHL.com

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving has his work cut out for himself dealing with players like Mitch Marner but once the dust settles, he should focus on Matthew Knies.

The Maple Leafs have a busy offseason coming up with Mitch Marner reportedly being on the trade market and many pending free agents including top forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi.
However once the dust settles for the Maple Leafs and the offseason hits a downturn, GM Brad Treliving should definitely focus on trying to lock young forward Matthew Knies up long-term. Coming off his rookie year, Knies played solid scoring 15 goals and 35 points in 80 games proving to be a pivotal member of the Leafs' middle six.
If they were to lock Knies up long-term, he could blossom into one of the Leafs' best players and prove to be an underpaid player if he fills out to his potential.
It would be a big leap from the Maple Leafs if they signed Knies to an 8-year contract extension with an AAV anywhere between $5.5M and $7 million, but they would be banking on a consistent upward trajectory for the budding young star coming out of his ELC and continuing over the course of the better part of the next decade, all of which are very plausible.

While it may feel like an overpay to give Knies a big contract this early on, it has worked out for plenty of other NHL teams in the past. One of the best examples of this is the Colorado Avalanche giving Nathan MacKinnon a seven-year contract worth $6,300,000 annually and by the end of the contract he blossomed into one of the best players in the NHL and was being paid half of what he was actually worth.
While it is unlikely that Knies will reach the level of a MacKinnon, he could certainly become underpaid if given a long-term contract this offseason and if he were to break out in his sophomore year with the Leafs, his demands may increase by millions and could be priced out of Toronto.
Source - Maple Leafs Daily
The Leafs and Matthew Knies have some important business to address
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Leafs number one priority should be Matthew Knies after free agency

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