Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Boston Bruins Prospects Series: #29 Jordan Knackstedt

Jordan Knackstedt, RW
6-2, 200
September 28, 1988
Shoots; Right
Boston's 6th choice, 189th overall (seventh round) in 2007 Draft
Signing status: Signed through 2011

Talent Analysis

Physical: Power winger has the broad frame, strength and hands to be a player but lacks the skating ability to be much more than a roleplayer. Strong upper body with the potential to add a few more pounds of muscle mass, but must be careful not to add too much weight at the expense of any mobility. Below average first step quickness, mediocre straight line speed and average agility are what helped drop Knackstedt down to the seventh round in his draft year. Good hands with a quick shot. He can score goals from the outside and from in close, but is at his best when he is driving to the hard to the net and banging pucks in. Play in all three zones/defensive awareness still needs work. Plays with an edge; is a good fighter and willing to defend his teammates. A physical, banging forward who skates up and down the wing and doesn't do anything all that exceptionally, but has the size and raw talent to make the NHL as a lower line player.

Intangibles: Got in some hot water with the Boston coaches at training camp last fall when he showed up too heavy and was not allowed to participate with the other players during the first few days. He got off to a slow start in Providence and looked dead in the water until picking it up considerably in the second half and earning Rob Murray's praise for re-dedicating himself to making it work in Providence. Played well on a unit with Zach Hamill and John Lammers, showing good chemistry and effort levels. Does not have the creativity to create offense on his own, but puts forth a diligent work ethic and knows that he must go to the net and take care of rebounds to be productive.

Boston Bruins 2010 Development Camp assessment
Did not attend

After putting up a 31-goal, 85-point season in his final junior season with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Knackstedt has shown some progress in two full years at the AHL level, but appears to be a pretty standard, fourth-line meat-and-potatoes winger barring some kind of unforseen change. His 14 goals last year are pretty remarkable (seven of them coming in March) when you consider how poorly he fared in the early going, even being option to Reading of the ECHL at one point before injuries brought him back up. To his credit, he didn't sulk after the humiliation he went through of being banished from the ice at camp because of a too-high body fat percentage, but did yeoman's work to get his weight down and within the standard the Bruins demand. He appears to have satisfied his Providence coach that it was a lesson learned, but the question Knackstedt must answer now is in the mind of Claude Julien in Boston. He has the size and hands to be an NHL player, but the skating is a drawback and he'll have to overcome that through sheer determination and effort.

“(Knackstedt) came to camp and wasn’t in the shape he needed to be. He trained hard, but didn’t train the way he needed to, and his body fat was a little over. He wasn’t allowed to skate with the big club and was sent down right away, and he had to work himself into the right shape. To his credit, it’s unbelievable where he is today compared to where he was in terms of his conditioning and body composition. It was a hard lesson for him, but it was a lesson learned.”- Providence coach Rob Murray to; March, 2010

“As far as his hockey goes from the blue line in, he’s pretty dangerous. He’s not the most fleet of foot, but he has good hands, vision, shooting ability and he protects the puck. It’s the other parts of the game, things like getting the puck out along the boards or making the right decisions in the neutral zone, what he’s supposed to do in his own end — those are things he’s had to work on but is making an improvement in.”- Rob Murray to; March, 2010

“My body fat percentage was obviously too high. I trained hard last summer, but trained the wrong way and it really set me back. My body fat is now around seven percent and I’m really happy with where I am right now. I learned an important lesson — at times, you can try to put on too much weight too quick, and by eating the wrong things, or eating too much at night, it can get you into trouble.”- Jordan Knackstedt to; March, 2010

“I’ve obviously got to get better (at skating). I’m in the gym a lot working on it and doing things that allow me to work on developing quickness in my feet, agility and stuff like that."- Jordan Knackstedt; March, 2010

Knackstedt putting better foot forward

The Final Word
Another member of Boston's thus far unproductive '07 draft class, Peter Chiarelli's first as Bruins GM, Knackstedt showed some initial promise as a late-round pick and could in fact make the NHL one day despite his skating issues. The problem he faces is that Boston does not have a lot of room for advancement right now, even on the fourth line, so any chance Knackstedt gets to play with the big club will likely have to come via injury to someone else. This is a huge training camp for him to be able to prove to Julien and staff that last year was an honest mistake and that he learned from it. He comes off as a serious, hard-working guy who wants to make it. We have to remember that even with the intriguing scoring skill, he was still just a seventh-round pick and has always been seen as a longshot. Even if he does make it to the show, it will likely be in a limited role and even that would be pretty much gravy. He may have to make his NHL coin for another team that has the room to utilize him in some capacity.

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