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Four Reasons Why Matthew Knies Isn’t Starting Game 1

The Toronto Maple Leafs start Game 1 tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Why won’t Matthew Knies be playing Game 1?

Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospect Matthew Knies has been received well by fans. He’s played well enough since he’s come from the University of Minnesota, although he’s not lighting the lamp – yet. Still, there’s excitement about his game and most Maple Leafs’ fans are anxious to see what he can do when he has more time with the team.

Since he’s come to the Maple Leafs, he’s played three games. The Maple Leafs have won them all. However, for as excited as the Maple Leafs’ fans might be, when the lineups were put together for Game 1, Knies was skating as an extra. He will not be starting against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Simmonds, Murray, Lafferty & Samsonov

Why Won’t Knies Start Game 1?

There are several reasons why Matthew Knies won’t see the ice in Game 1.

First, while the other Maple Leafs’ players have been with the team for the season (or since the trade deadline), Knies is a newcomer. He’s just played three games during the regular season; and, for the most part, these games have been meaningless insofar as the regular-season placement went.

Matthew Knies, Maple Leafs’ newcomer

Second, the Maple Leafs’ fourth line has been performing really well over the last month or so. That’s true, especially about Zach Aston-Reese. He’s been playing exceptionally well. Given the idea that you don’t fix something that isn’t broken, the decision to bench Knies is more logical than sitting a veteran player who’s earned the ice time.

Maple Leafs Coaches Are Wise to Sit Knies for Game 1

Toronto’s decision to bench Knies is also wise because it allows him to watch Game 1 from the press box. He won’t be rushed into action. Knies gets to watch what happens without trying to do it from the ice level.

Although Knies won’t be playing in Game 1, he might still get a chance to experience playoff action. If the Maple Leafs need him, he would be an easy substitution if the Maple Leafs need an offensive boost. He can also jump into the lineup if the Maple Leafs suffer an injury up front during their anticipated deep playoff run.

Coach Sheldon Keefe also pointed out that Knies hasn’t even skated on the ice at Scotiabank Arena yet. That might bring on its own set of nerves. Still, Knies seems unflustered. He just seems happy to be a part of the team. He has to know that his chances will come eventually.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Lineup For Game #1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Summarizing the Four Reasons Knies Won’t Play Tonight

In summary, there are four reasons why Knies won’t play in Game 1 tonight.

First, he hasn’t played on Scotiabank Arena ice before.

Second, he’s a newcomer who’s played only three (pretty meaningless) games.

Third, and perhaps more important, the fourth line has been performing well over the last month or so. Who would Knies replace where he’d offer more upside? Specifically, Zach Aston Reese has played exceptionally well. It makes no sense to replace him.

Fourth, the decision to bench Knies is more team-centered than sitting any other veteran player who has earned his playing time throughout the season.

The Bottom Line

Overall, the decision to bench Knies is a wise move by Toronto, as it allows him to watch the game from the press box and not rush him into action. Knies will get a chance to experience playoff action; however, it might not be this season.

Still, his time will come. And it might come sooner if there’s an injury he needs to cover for.




  1. Roy Peters

    April 18, 2023 at 8:39 am

    The other player who should be sitting is the one and only Justin Holl he is the one who cost the Leafs a chance to win the previous years, I would prefer they play Liligren with Gio as his upside is what you want.

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