– Spencer Knight –
USA Hockey’s NTDP | Goaltender | 2019 NHL Draft Eligible
Stamford, Connecticut | Apr. 19th, 2001 | 6-foot-3, 200-pounds
The United States National Team Development Program’s U18 Team is one of the deepest and strongest in recent history.
Boasting upwards of seven potential first rounds picks in the 2019 NHL Draft and led by an elite centre in Jack Hughes, USA’s U18 Team is a force to be reckoned with which will surely contribute to the country’s 2019 World Junior Championship roster as well. However, perhaps no player is of greater importance to the success of the NTDP’s U18 Team in 2018-19 than goaltender Spencer Knight.
Of impressive size, athleticism, and intelligence, Knight could very well be the first goaltender selected come the 2019 NHL Draft, and in the first round to boot.
Knight truly does bring a comprehensive and remarkably effective game to his crease on a nightly basis.
For Knight, the foundation of his game is his impressive athleticism, stellar positioning, and downright superior intelligence in-goal. A natural athlete who is as strong and agile as they come, Knight is a force in his net who can fight through traffic to see loose pucks as well as battle hard to control loose rebounds around his crease.
What’s more is that Knight is always in the right position to make his saves. Given his 6-foot-3 and almost 200-pound frame, Knight is an intimidating presence in the crease who naturally reduces shooting angles owing to his size. However, what separates Knight from his competition is his ability to maneuver post-to-post within his goal with immense speed before anchoring himself in seemingly perfect positions to face incoming shots — all of which he accomplishes with remarkable consistency.
Related: 2019 NHL Draft Rankings
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, there is Knight’s on-ice intelligence. Already one of the strongest and best-positioned goaltenders available in the 2019 NHL Draft, Knight also happens to be one of the most intelligent. Capable of reading the play before it unravels and reacting before his opponents can blast the puck on-goal, Knight’s innate and unique ability to predict plays allows him to stand one step ahead of his attackers at all times.
- Reaction Efficiency
Although he is an exceptional athlete and star-goaltender in the making, Knight would do well to better conserve his energy and refine his mobility within his the crease.
Somewhat uncontrolled at times and too explosive owing to his raw strength, Knight can at times over-react to particular plays — and especially those which force him to traverse his crease with speed and power. These un-refined movements not only dent Knight’s energy level but force him to overplay his position as well — a reality which can lead to tap in goals for his opposition.
Throughout the 2018-19 campaign, Knight would do well to improve his poise and composure in-goal. Much like Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens, it would serve Knight extremely well to focus on playing a quiet yet tactile game in goal, and one which will allow him to better retain his positioning and utilize his significant size to his advantage.
Ultimately, Knight could prove to be the most consistent and effective goaltender eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.
Likely to be chosen in the first-round of the event, Knight has all the makings of a starting goaltender at the NHL-level and one who could come to be considered as elite if able to further refine his already impressive game. Committed to Boston College for the 2019-20 season, Knight’s ascension to the NCAA-level and his resulting play in the years ahead will speak volumes with regards to his ultimate potential in the NHL.
In short, Knight could very well be the best goaltender available within this year’s draft class. With great size, incredible athleticism, and the drive necessary to succeed on a nightly basis, Knight won’t last long come draft day.