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Matthews intrigued at what Knies could add to Leafs' lineup

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Just like most of the Toronto Maple Leafs' fanbase, superstar Auston Matthews is curious what top prospect Matthew Knies can bring to the table at the NHL level.

Knies is playing out his second season at the University of Minnesota, but is eligible to sign an entry-level contract with Toronto whenever his collegiate campaign ends. Many believe the Leafs could give him a chance to close out the regular season and perhaps suit up in the playoffs, and Matthews supports the cause.

"Yeah of course, I think there's always that intrigue this time of year," the reigning Hart Trophy winner told TSN.

Matthews added: "Hopefully the year he's had kind of gives him some confidence coming in and finishing his season, and seeing where that goes. Jumping in, it's quite a jump, but obviously he's a mature young guy and we'll do everything we can to help him out and give him the best opportunity to succeed."

There is no firm date on when Knies may become available. Minnesota is the top-ranked team in the NCAA, and is expected to make a deep run to the Frozen Four. The championship tournament runs April 6-8, and the Maple Leafs only have three regular season games after the end date - including one against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who will be Toronto's first-round playoff opponent barring a miraculous change in the Atlantic Division standings.

Knies was drafted in the second round of the 2021 draft. He earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors this season after posting 41 points in 36 games, and is one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award as the nation's top player.

The 6-foot-3 winger also represented the United States at the Olympics and world juniors in 2022.

The Maple Leafs are currently fifth in the NHL standings with 93 points.

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