Maple Leafs sign Eric Knodel to one-year entry level contract

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The Maple Leafs signed 23-year-old defenceman Eric Knodel to a one-year entry-level contract today. Knodel was the Leafs’ 2009 5th round draft pick who played four years at the University of New Hampshire, finishing his college career with a heartbreaking loss to UMass Lowell in the Hockey East Championship last Saturday.

Knodel registered 28 points (7 goals, 21 assists) with 28 penalty minutes and a +16 rating in 41 games as captain of the Wildcats this season. Over his three-year career at the University of New Hampshire (2011-12 to 2013-14), Knodel posted 20 goals and 41 assists for 61 points with 60 penalty minutes in 116 games.

The 6-foot-6 Knodel will now join the Marlies for the rest of their season armed with a one-year entry level contract that spans 2014-15. Needless to say, he’s got a short window to prove himself at the professional level.

 

I caught up with UNH Head coach Dick Umile for some quick comments on Knodel’s game.

On Eric’s four years at UNH:

“He progressed an awful lot. He turned into a League All Star in Hockey East, which says a lot. Any time you’re a League All Star in our League, it says something. He’s progressed to be a very talented defenceman, both defensively and offensively.

He led our powerplay. He was the key defenceman on the powerplay, the quarterback of the PP. He had a great shot, and scored several goals because of his shot and his release. He killed penalties. He played a tonne of minutes. He was our Chara. Played an awful lot of minutes.”

How mobile is he for a 6’6 225-pounder?

“He moves pretty good for a guy who is 6’6, but he’s got a great stick. A long stick, a long wingspan and he uses it well.”

Does he use the size to punish opponents?

“I wouldn’t say he’s an overly physical player. He’s not shy, but it’s not like he’s out there crushing people. I think he uses his stick, the length of his stick, and his reach to break up a lot of plays and control people one on one.”

Biggest area in need of improvement to take this next step at the AHL level?

“It’s always defensive play, physical play along the boards, and the speed and strength adjustment at the next level.”

A video of some of Knodel’s highlights this past season:

Get to know the man:

  • GiuseppeM

    Great to see a new story so we don’t have to see a disappointed Kessel and Bozak. 

    Love the potential of these unknown College kids. Found wallets and all that…Bozak!

  • wiski

    University of no hammers, JVR will like him.

  • Leafs rule

    Really liked this part ,He led our powerplay. He was the key defenceman on the powerplay, the
    quarterback of the PP. He had a great shot, and scored several goals
    because of his shot and his release. He killed penalties. He played a
    tonne of minutes. He was our Chara. Played an awful lot of minutes.”

  • wiski

    Leafs rule  There’s hope when we need it most

  • LeafsManiac

    Good Article, but from what I got out of it was nothing to get excited about.

  • Axle_Goalie

    LeafsManiac  Agreed. I’d love it if he developed into something, but I’m not counting on it.

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/markhmasters https://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/448553573807575040
    Looking for a reason for optimism Leafs fans? https://twitter.com/Real_ESPNLeBrun has gut feel Toronto snaps its skid tonight http://t.co/8h25wiqYN6 (vid)

  • skiingallday

    Time to get excited about prospects!!!

  • Savo43

    Knodel sounds a lot like Franson. Lollll. Man…Franson was so good last year. So disappointed in him this yr. ffs.

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/mbrownSN590 https://twitter.com/mbrownSN590/status/448555847275544576
    Last time the https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Blues&src=hash and https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Leafs&src=hash faced each other, James Reimer was chased in the 1st period after giving up 3 goals on 14 shots.

  • wendelsway1

    wiski  Okay then…..Bernier or Mac it is  :)

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    Just in time for him to play tonite…right?

  • gjdevlin

    Looks like a promising puck moving defense man. Nice to have a signed prospect and to let him grow. Looks like he might be two years away.

  • wiski

    wendelsway1 wiski  Depends how he feels after this mornings practice but I hope Bernie. Is Mac still around or was he sent down?

  • 4evrblue

    Carey and TVR, both college guys that Cam mentioned, went to Chicago
    The consensus #1 of this years college crop, Christian Folin, is still playing.

  • wendelsway1

    wiski wendelsway1  No idea…..and what happened to your Oiho post?……was just typing out that must be an AC/DC fan… Oi  Oi  Oi…lol  :)

  • 4evrblue

    TheCanucksnaphook yes, Dion sits. I hear he isn’t very good.

  • wiski

    Savo43  We have more than one misfit from somewhere else.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    https://twitter.com/markhmasters https://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/448558293133561857
    Lupul also said Bernier has better rebound control than any other goalie he’s played with
    https://twitter.com/markhmasters https://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/448558206508601344
    Lupul on Bernier: “He understands when you need a whistle or when to calm the game down a bit.”

  • wiski

    4evrblue TheCanucksnaphook  finally 😉

  • wendelsway1

    wiski Savo43  LOL….the Island of misfit toys?….lol  :)

  • wiski

    wendelsway1 wiski Savo43  worked for the Raiders way back. ‘)

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/JuLiaNs_World https://twitter.com/JuLiaNs_World/status/448558530262749184
    Fitting I think. https://twitter.com/search?q=%23JamesReimer&src=hash https://twitter.com/search?q=%23TMLTALK&src=hash https://twitter.com/mlse http://t.co/l0Obok7qQn

  • wendelsway1

    wiski wendelsway1 Savo43  One team’s misfit is another team’s  treasure  😉

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    wiski  Christ in heaven biggest drama queen market on the planet. fuckin embarrassing at times.

  • wiski

    TheCanucksnaphook  Said he would make a big difference. lol hows the bottom of the bus looking James

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Refresh for some Knodel video.

  • wiski

    Alec Brownscombe  Good stuff Alec thanks

  • Great Dane

    https://twitter.com/Hope_Smoke

    https://twitter.com/Hope_Smoke/status/448541039905611776

    Ferraro thinks the Leafs are a
    top centre, a #1 defenseman, a really good bottom 6 F & a depth D
    away from being a contender. Is that all?
    So where do we get that ?

  • wiski

    He wore the C to eh

  • Jordan29

    TheCanucksnaphook wiski  only at times?

  • mcloki

    Off topic but Sad. Just seen it. Sorry if I’m reposting.

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/football/nfl/longtime-bills-owner-wilson-dies-at-95/

    Wonder what happens to the Bills now?

  • wiski

    mcloki  Opens the door for the move to T.O now?

  • mcloki

    Great Dane  It would go a long way to being a contender, but a coaching style change is needed as well. Maybe those new players wold accommodate that change.

  • mcloki

    wiski mcloki  Could be. But I’d see a move to LA being first priority for the NFL.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    wiski TheCanucksnaphook  exactly what i was thinking.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    wiski mcloki  Toronto is a FLOP of a market.  They realized that and are looking at plan B

  • mcloki

    TheCanucksnaphook  It’s almost as if you can’t say anything nice about a player without it being a slag against those not mentioned. Brutal.

  • mcloki

    TheCanucksnaphook wiski mcloki  Toronto fans want their own team, not Buffalo’s “seconds”. A Toronto 8 games a year team would be a massive hit.

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/markhmasters https://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/448562080556531712
    Cody Franson on Bernier: “The biggest thing with him is you can feel how comfortable he is out there, how confident he is”

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/markhmasters https://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/448562256088158208
    Franson on Bernier: “He comes out, he challenges, he makes a save & he’s smiling … gifted individual & we’re happy to have him back”

  • mcloki

    TheCanucksnaphook wiski mcloki  I think Toronto fans realized they were being fleeced.

  • wiski

    mcloki TheCanucksnaphook wiski  I agree a one game loser team was ok the first year or two and got stale fast.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    wow….sounds like the Leafs have a favorite goalie.

  • The_Polish_Cannon

    TheCanucksnaphook  it would be nice to hear of a player standing up and taking some of the blame away from Reimer. This team has played awful all round and for them to sit back and let everyone attack Reimer is ridiculous

  • wiski

    Alec Brownscombe TheCanucksnaphook  https://twitter.com/markhmasters https://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/448564806195617792
    Bodie on seeing Bernier at skate: “It’s a good feeling. Obviously, he’s our big guy … Good to have him back. Brings a lil more confidence.”

  • gjdevlin

    If Bernier is the starter…is it a good idea? Groin injuries take time..but if he’s back, he’s back.

  • BBirde

    Bernier’s in net?!

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    gjdevlin  I worry about his groin.  He is so damn flexible with his lower body and with a potential for a lot of shots could be a risky start.  I hope he is ready.

  • gjdevlin

    TheCanucksnaphook gjdevlinme too…his lateral movement is terrific as his glove and puck control. Corralling and controlling the puck gives the Leafs a chance to regain puck possession instead of having to fight for it in the d-zone all the time..but then again..his groin (smh)