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Recent drafts have seen the top goaltenders drafted far lower than the did in the years prior to the introduction of the salary cap. There are a number of reasons for this, including the late development of goaltenders and the importance of having productive players on entry-level contracts to manage the salary cap. There is also the fact that with goalies developing later, identifying star goaltenders at 18 is harder than identifying a future star at forward or defence. That said, sometimes a prospect is so good, that he is able to break into the first round of the NHL Draft. In Spencer Knight, the 2019 NHL Draft might have such a goalie prospect.
The clear top goaltender in this year’s draft, Knight has put up a 2.40 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 30 games with the US NTDP. He is currently playing in the IIHF Under-18 World Championships, backstopping a heavily favoured American team. Knight played in five games at last year’s tournament, winning a silver medal. He also led the Americans to gold at last seasons Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. Knight is committed to attend Boston College next season. Knight was also Team USA’s third goalie at this year’s World Juniors.
Spencer Knight Scouting Report
Goaltender – Shoots Left — Catches Left
Born April 19th, 2001 — Darien, Connecticut
Height 6’3″ — Weight 198 lbs [191 cm / 91 kg]
Skating and Talent Analysis
Already at six-foot-three and only recently had his 18th birthday, Knight has the type of size NHL teams are looking for in goalie prospects as well as room to grow. Knight takes advantage of that size by coming well out of his net and challenging shooters. He keeps his back straight and maximizes his size to take away the top of the net when facing a shooter. His rebound control is especially well developed for a goaltender his age. As with any young goalie, there is still room for refinement, but he is already well ahead of the normal curve for a prospect.
Knight has powerful legs which allow him to take away the bottom of the net. He also gets across the crease quickly and under control. His puck tracking is very good for his age. Knight reads the play well and anticipates where the shot will come from. Add in a quick glove hand and Knight has all the technical ability to be a top goalie. It is clear that he has been well schooled in his technique, with the way he handles his stick, hugs the post, and uses short quick steps to get across the crease. Knight can also handle the puck to help his defence and start the transition game.
Knight also shows maturity, not being rattled by goals or traffic around his net. He keeps his composure and is ready to make the next save no matter what the situation. His coolness and composure becomes a source of strength for teammates. They look to him in order to calm things down when his team faces adversity. Knight also shows leadership ability, communicating with and instructing the defenders in front of him.
One area where Knight can improve is in keeping his focus when he does not face a lot of shots. With how dominant the US NTDP has been this season, there are times where this can happen. When that next flurry of shots finally arrives, Knight can sometimes have trouble being focused to face them.
Projection and Comparison
Knight will head to the NCAA next year, where he should be Boston College’s top goalie, even as a freshman. The light NCAA schedule will give him plenty of time to continue to refine his game in practice and increase his strength in the weight room. While Knight is a few years away from making an NHL impact, he has the potential to be a franchise goaltender. His playing style is reminiscent of Carey Price. This is not a reflection of his skill or ability but rather a mear stylistic comparison.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Spencer Knight that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Embed from Getty Images
ST. PAUL, MN – SEPTEMBER 19: Team Langenbrunner goalie Spencer Knight (30) looks on during the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game between Team Leopold and Team Langenbrunner on September 19, 2018, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. Team Leopold defeated Team Langenbrunner 6-4.(Photo by Nick Wosika / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)