Once upon a time, a Junior A coach was asked about the future of one of his young centremen.
“He’s a later developer,” replied the skipper. “Usually, those kids that get drafted (by the Western Hockey League) . . . they’ve had their growth spurt. He didn’t have that until he was 17. He’s still growing and still getting bigger and stronger. By the time he’s 22 years old, he’ll be the right size and the right strength.
“He’ll probably get his chance to play in the National Hockey League then . . . and once he gets there, he’ll do very well.”
That was Okotoks Oilers then-coach Dan MacDonald discussing Corban Knight.
That was 2009.
And what do you know? MacDonald had been bang-on.
Knight is 22 — he’s now six-foot-two and 200 pounds, now about to embark on an NHL career with the Calgary Flames.
Asked about MacDonald’s eerily accurate assessment, he chuckles.
“Very interesting,” says Knight, who, Tuesday, had been tickled to learn that the Florida Panthers had flipped his rights to the Flames for a fourth-round pick. “Back then I was a ways away from being anywhere near ready to even play college. I mean, four years of college did wonders for me, both for the physical maturity and the mental maturity.
“Looking back, I’m quite a bit different than that little kid who was playing junior hockey in Okotoks.”
After graduating from the University of North Dakota, he’s blossomed into enough of a commodity to have created a bidding war in recent weeks.
Because when the Panthers and Knight couldn’t come to terms after his senior year, the team, rather than lose the player to free agency, let it be known that his rights were available.
The Flames stepped up. So did the Edmonton Oilers, reportedly.
The choice was Knight’s.
Full Story from the Calgary Herald