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Maple Leafs' Knies: Matthews is NHL's 'best overall player'

Kevin Sousa / National Hockey League / Getty

Matthew Knies may be biased, but he believes his Toronto Maple Leafs teammate Auston Matthews is the top player in the game.

"He's not just the best goal-scorer in the NHL, but he plays defense, too," Knies said Tuesday at the NHLPA Rookie Showcase, per ESPN's Greg Wyshynski. "He's kind of the best overall player (in the NHL) in my eyes."

The two teammates go way back: Both natives of Arizona, Knies' older brother, Phil, grew up playing with Matthews.

Matthews is coming off a down year with 40 goals and 45 assists in 74 contests. But he led the league in goals in each of the prior two campaigns and won the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award in 2021-22 when he potted 60 goals and added 46 helpers in 73 contests. He also received downballot Selke Trophy votes in each of the last four years.

Knies' opinion runs contrary to the general consensus that Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid is the best player in the game. McDavid has won three straight Art Ross Trophies and captured the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award this past season after recording 64 goals and 153 points.

Knies, who's only skated in three NHL regular-season games and seven playoff contests, will get his first taste of McDavid when the Leafs visit the Oilers on Jan. 16.

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