2009-10: Eric Knodel played a season with Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL. He scored three goals and 17 assists in 50 games with the team, before committing to New Hampshire for the next season.
2010-11: Knodel practiced with the University of New Hampshire as a freshman but did not see any action as the Wildcats’ core six defensemen played all 39 games. New Hampshire was second in Hockey East during the regular season and reached the NCAA Northeast Regional Final.
2011-12: Knodel skated in all 37 games for the University of New Hampshire as a red shirt freshman. He scored 3 goals with 9 assists and was plus-three with 24 penalty minutes. The Wildcats finished sixth in Hockey East and lost to Boston University in the league quarterfinals in a three-game series that featured two double-overtime games.
2012-13: Knodel played in 38 of 39 games for New Hampshire in his sophomore season and was the second-leading scorer amongst Wildcats defensemen. His 10 goals were the most amongst UNH defensemen and he had 11 assists, finishing +13 with 8 penalty minutes. The Wildcats finished in a three-way tie for third in Hockey East and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Northeast Regional after falling to Providence in a conference quarterfinal series. The Wildcats defeated Denver, 5-2, before falling to Massachusetts-Lowell, 2-0, in the Northeast Regional Final.
2013-14: Knodel signed a one-year entry-level contract with the Maple Leafs in March 2014 and made his pro hockey debut with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies following his junior season at New Hampshire. In 10 AHL games he had 2 assists and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes. Toronto finished first in the North Division and reached the Western Conference finals — falling to Texas in a seven-game series. Knodel was +1 with no points nor penalties in two playoff games. He was the fourth-leading scorer and top offensive defenseman for New Hampshire in his final season of college hockey. He scored 5 of his 7 goals on the Wildcats’ power play and had 21 assists, finishing +16 with 28 penalty minutes in 41 games. The Wildcats finished fourth in Hockey East and advanced to the conference championship game, falling 4-0 to Massachusetts-Lowell, but did not receive an NCAA tournament bid.
Knodel possesses prototypical size for a defenseman and strong skating ability. Despite that size he is not a huge physical presence and relies more on proper stick positioning then punishing body checks. Knodel will jump into the rush and is effective at the point, particularly on the power play. His agility and coordination are areas of focus if he is to progress towards the higher levels of pro hockey.
Knodel attended training camp with the Maple Leafs before opening the 2014-15 season in the ECHL with the Orlando Solar Bears. Now in his first season of pro hockey, he was recalled by the AHL' Toronto Marlies in November but has struggled to find ice time in a crowded defense corps. Long-term Knodel's size and skill set suggest he can contribute at the pro level but his strength and agility must improve for him to compete at that level on a consistent basis.