Leafs prospect Knies a Hobey Hat Trick finalist as NCAA's top player

Mar 30 2023, 6:43 pm

Matthew Knies can add at least one more hat trick to his season.

As in, Hobey Hat Trick.

On Thursday morning, Knies was among the three finalists for the 2023 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, annually given to recognize the top NCAA men’s hockey player.

The 20-year-old sophomore will compete with University of Minnesota teammate and Arizona Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley, as well as 2023 NHL Draft eligible Adam Fantilli of the University of Michigan, for the honour. All three players will participate in the Frozen Four next week in Tampa, Florida.

The Hobey Baker will be awarded on Friday, April 7.

Knies, selected in the second round (No. 57) of the 2021 draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, amassed 41 points (21 goals, 20 assists) in 41 games this season. He was named the 2022-23 Big Ten Conference Player of the Year and an All-Big Ten First Team honouree after leading the nation with seven game-winning goals — including three in overtime.

Cooley led Minnesota with 57 points (20 goals, 37 assists) in 37 games. Fantilli, the projected No. 2 pick in the 2023 draft behind Connor Bedard, had 64 points (29 goals, 35 assists) in 35 games.

Minnesota will face Boston University in the tournament semifinals on Thursday, April 6 and, should they be victorious, would face the winner of Michigan’s game opposite Quinnipiac.

The final is set for Saturday, April 10.

Knies, a 6-foot-3, 209-pound left wing, is expected to sign an entry-level contract with the Maple Leafs after Minnesota’s exit from the tournament, either via elimination or championship. He could have up to three games remaining in Toronto’s regular season by the time the tournament ends.

The Maple Leafs close out the regular season on a three-game road trip with games against the Florida Panthers on Monday, April 10, the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, April 11, and their regular-season closer against the New York Rangers on Thursday, April 13.

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