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Vitals: 5'11", 203 lbs
Acquired: Via Draft - 2010 NHL Entry Draft, 2nd Round (32nd Overall)
Current Team: Providence Bruins (AHL)
Jared Knight is regressing, at least from a numbers point of view, quite rapidly.
When the Bruins took Knight with the 32nd overall pick in 2010 (a pick acquired in the trade involving this magnificent human being), they thought they were getting a 17-year-old who worked his way from a second-tier forward to earning minutes alongside major-junior stud Nazem Kadri. The jump to a first line forward was a deserved one. I mean, Christ, Knight was able to put up numbers playing with Dominic DeSando and Leigh Salters for the first month and change of the season. DeSando is now out of hockey, having last played in 2011-2012 with the University of Western Ontario, and Salters is currently skating with the Braehead Clan in England's Elite Ice Hockey League.
I'm not trying to a give a history lesson about Knight's less than desirable ex-linemates, but rather taking a roundabout way to prove a point; at one point, Knight projected quite well as a prospect.
Knight probably shot up the Bruins draft board because the phrase "2-way forward" was/is often associated with hissix letter last name. A two-way forward with offensive upside? And you're telling me the Bruins drafted him? C'mon, that's so out of character for them.
Knights junior season in London saw a dip in goals, but an increase in assists and points. Nothing alarming, considering Kadri had left for the land of forgiving media and low expectations in Toronto. Fellow B's prospect Seth Griffith emerged as a legitimate major-junior prospect, and some Russian kid who was drafted by Tampa Bay (Vladislav Namestnikov) emerged as London's second leading scorer.
Knight's final season in major-junior, however, is where things began to go south. Knight lost minutes to up-and-coming Max Domi and dealt with a lingering ankle injury that limited him to 52 games. Knight returned during the playoffs, only to see a drastic drop off in production (8 points in 15 games), and struggled in the Memorial Cup - tallying 1 assist in 4 games.
The injury bug struck again in his first professional season, as a hamstring injury left our forgotten Kessel-piece out of the lineup for a good chunk of the year. Between the ECHL, AHL and AHL playoffs, Jared suited up for 18 games.
Last year, was a big year for Knight. It was his first chance for a full, healthy season at the professional level. It was his performance in this past season, more than the regression leading into it, that made me exclude him from my top 25. Knight's season in Providence was not horrible by any means, but it wasn't anything to get jazzed about either. There seems to be a truth behind the 2-way compliments, as Knight does posses the traits of a successful bottom-six NHL forward. But, that being said, I don't see a chance for the 22-year-old to crack the lineup in Boston. There are too many other pieces - Justin Florek, Craig Cunningham, Alexander Fallstrom, for example - that have log-jammed themselves ahead of the Battle Creek, Michigan native.
His age is still that of someone who can turn things around and reclaim top-prospect status, so Knight certainly has that going for him. Boston drafts and churns out these 2-way types at such a frequency that - and I know I said this a paragraph or two above - his shot is likely going to come somewhere else. Whether he's included in the inevitable September trade Chia makes or he dashes to Europe when his contract expires in June, I can't see him sticking around much longer. There's not much room for him to grow here, at least from how I see things. Which, and I can't emphasize this enough, are probably wrong.