While Phil Kessel is lighting the lamp in the young National Hockey League season, Jared Knight is honing his craft in the Ontario Hockey League.
And while they don’t play in the same league, the two will forever be linked in the trade that brought Kessel from the Boston Bruins to the Toronto Maple Leafs two seasons ago.
“It’s kind of cool,” Knight said. “I grew up watching Phil as one of my favourite players. If anything, it’s an honour to be traded for him.”
Indirectly, that is. The Bruins used Toronto’s second round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft to pick Knight, a member of the London Knights. Still, the native of Battle Creek, MI. is quick to point out the obvious comparisons made between he and the Maple Leafs sniper.
“We both like to shoot the puck,” the five-foot-11 winger said. “I like to think I’m a goal scorer.”
Finishing the past two seasons with 36 and 25 goals, respectively, Knight has proven just that. He’s continued to do so with six goals in eight games since being returned by the Boston Bruins in September, despite many fans of the reigning Stanley Cup Champions thinking the hard-working forward could possibly crack a strong NHL roster.
He was hoping the same.
“I thought I had a good training camp there,” said Knight, who suffers from diabetes. “It’s unfortunate to get sent back, but it’s not a bad thing at all. One more year to develop, and hopefully get ready to go next year.”
Knight has taken the opportunity to improve.
“Its just time to get better,” Knight admitted. “I had a good summer. I got a lot stronger and a lot better, developing my skills.”
This year will mark his fourth season with the London organization and second season with Boston monitoring his progress closely. As the Knights sits atop the OHL standings and CHL rankings, Knight knows he has a goal in mind.
“To win, that’s first and foremost,” Knight admitted. “I think I can get 100 points, and 50 goals isn’t out of the question. I think I can do it.”
A collegiate player, Kessel never played in the OHL. That won’t stop the comparisons, especially if Knight is able to net 50.
“He’s Phil Kessel, though,” Knight started. “He’s in the show, and I’m playing here, so I’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Brian Huddle is a Future Considerations correspondant and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!