Jared Knight’s Scoring Touch Only Going to Improve After Corralling Diabetes


September 7, 2010

Continuing NESN.com?s unveiling of our Preseason Top 10 Prospects in the Bruins system, we take a look at No. 5, right wing Jared Knight.

No. 5: Jared Knight
Position: Right wing
Age: 18
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 198 pounds
Shoots: Right
Acquired: 2010 draft, second round (32nd overall)

2009-10 stats
London (OHL) ? 63 games, 36-21-57, plus-16, 39 PIMs; Playoffs ? 12 games, 10-7-17, plus-6, 12 PIMs

Knight was a bit of a wild card entering this year?s draft. He had the skill to be a top prospect, but was ranked just 123rd among North American skaters at midseason by Central Scouting and 82nd at the end of the year. His stock slipped largely for health concerns, as he was diagnosed with diabetes during the season. That helped explain his sluggish start to the year, and once he began treatment his overall play and numbers took off quickly. The illness is something he will have to constantly monitor and treat, but shouldn?t affect his play or his ability to reach the NHL. Hall of famer Bob Clarke and former Bruin Nick Boynton are among the players who enjoyed long and successful NHL careers while playing with diabetes. Knight has the skills to carve out quite an NHL career of his own in the future. He?s a natural goal-scorer with soft hands and an excellent shot. Like a pitcher will a repertoire of plus-offerings, Knight can strike in a variety of ways with equally effective wrist, snap and slap shots. He also brings to mind a description usually reserved for football prospects in that he has a great motor. He?s always skating, moving and working on the ice. He?s not tall, but sturdily built and very strong, making him tough to knock off the puck. Knight has some experience at center, but has primarily played on the right side and his future is on the wing. He also made quite an impression at July?s Development Camp. Skating on a line with first-rounders Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron, Knight not only didn?t look out of place, he may have had the best showing of any forward at the camp.

More than doubled his goal total in his second year in the OHL, going from 15 goals to 36 despite playing four fewer games. ? Scored just seven goals in his first 19 games, but after diabetes diagnosis and beginning treatment, he put up 29 in final 44 games, (39 in 56 games including playoffs). ? Had a nine-game goal-scoring streak from Nov. 15 to Dec. 17, scoring 11 goals in that span. ? Played on a line with Nazem Kadri, Toronto?s first-round pick (7th overall) in 2009, for much of last season. Also played with fellow Bruins prospect Michael Hutchinson, a goalie taken in the third round in 2008, in London. Other junior teammates the past two years include current NHLers 2009 No. 1 overall pick John Tavares (N.Y. Islanders), Michael Del Zotto (N.Y. Rangers) and John Carlson (Washington). His coach also has plenty of knowledge of the NHL, especially what the inside of the league?s penalty boxes look like, as the Knights are coached by longtime NHL bad boy Dale Hunter, who is also London?s owner and president. ? Battle Creek, Mich. native Knight upset some at USA Hockey when he chose to play junior hockey in the OHL instead of the U.S. Development Program and attending the University of Michigan, which may explain why he was not invited to Team USA?s evaluation camp this summer for the World Juniors. ? Capped an outstanding week at the Bruins? development camp with a pair of goals in the final scrimmage.

"He?s a pure scorer this kid," said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli of Knight at the draft. "He?s actually got an interesting story behind him. He has diabetes. He didn?t know he had diabetes and lost a bunch of weight during the year. He had been a [high] profile guy coming into the year, dropped off the charts of a lot of scouts, but then ended up finishing with [36] goals. They were able to treat the diabetes and he just got stronger and stronger. We brought him in to test him and he was off the charts strength-wise. It was terrific to see."

"I think coming in [to the development camp] a lot of guys were nervous, I know I was," said Knight after the development camp. ?You just don?t know the guys, but coming back for [training] camp, some of these guys will be here and you?ll know them and you?ll be more comfortable. ? As far as the conditioning goes, you kind of see what the pros do and how they prepare and get stronger and you just try to learn that, take it home with you and become a better player. I just want to get stronger. I?ll be working out every day, skating 4-5 times a week, just trying to get ready and be the most prepared for camp that I can be.?

2010-11 Outlook
With Knight and Seguin already added to the system and another first-round pick coming next June, the Bruins can?t complain about the return they?ve gotten from Toronto in the Phil Kessel trade. But while Seguin is almost sure to crack the big club?s roster right away, Boston may have to wait a little longer for Knight. He has enough skill to possibly make a surprise run at a job in training camp this year, but it?s more likely that he?ll need some more time in the OHL and possibly eventually the AHL before making that leap. He should be worth waiting for though, as he has the potential to be something special and a few seasons from now he could be reunited with his development camp linemates Seguin and Caron on a scoring line in Boston.

NESN.com will count down our Preseason Top 10 Bruins Prospects with one profiled each day.

Monday, Sept. 6: The No. 6 prospect, defenseman Ryan Button.

Wednesday, Sept. 8: The No. 4 Bruins prospect is unveiled.

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