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With Frozen Four tournament concluded, Knies signs with Leafs

Matthew Knies Toronto Maple Leafs Matthew Knies - Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed top prospect Matthew Knies to a three-year, entry-level contract, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports. 

The contract begins with the 2022-23 season (current year) and has an average annual value of $925,000.

The 57th overall pick of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft out of the USHL's Tri-City Storm, the 20-year-old left winger spent the past two seasons at Minnesota.

A native of Phoenix, Knies was a finalist for the 2023 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given to college hockey’s top player, that was won by Michigan’s Adam Fantilli.

In 38 games during his sophomore season, Knies scored 21 goals and added 20 assists. Knies was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and named to the All-Big Ten First Team.

"In two seasons playing for Coach [Bob] Motzko and his program at the University of Minnesota, Matthew has participated in two Big Ten championship games, two NCAA Frozen Four Championships, one World Junior Championship tournament and one Winter Olympic Games,” said Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas.

“The impact of that experience in addition to the massive steps the program at University of Minnesota has helped him take on and off the ice are something that we are forever grateful for.” 

He finishes his NCAA career with 36 goals and 38 assists in 71 games over two seasons.

Internationally, Knies has represented the United States on two occasions. He registered a goal and an assist in four games at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Then last summer, Knies had three assists in five games at the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton. The United States finished fifth in both tournaments.

Prior to the Frozen Four, Knies was complimentary of the Leafs for giving him the time and space to focus on the Golden Gophers.

"[The Maple Leafs] have been in good communication with me," Knies said. "They've obviously been very professional about it and they've given me my space to let me focus on being here. I haven't really thought so much about it and I think once the season really ends I can sit back down with them and weigh the pros and the cons."

The Gophers lost 3-2 to Quinnipiac in the Frozen Four final on Apr. 8.

The Leafs end their regular season on Apr. 13 and will play the Tampa Bay Lightning for a second consecutive season in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The NHL postseason is set to get underway on Apr. 17.