When Toronto used the last selection they had in the 2001 Entry Draft to select Mike Knoepfli from the OPJHL’s Georgetown Raiders most observers were divided equally into three groups: The ‘how do you spell it’s?’, the ‘how do you say it’s?’, and ‘the who the heck is he’s?’ (For the record it’s pronounced kuh-naw-flee). Granted the league in which the portsider played is not as visible and many will maintain not as competitive as the CHL, but there are many reasons to think the Leafs may have pulled a fast one on the rest of the league here.
Talking to Georgetown GM John (Jack) Moon, the one thing that comes through time and again is the fact that “Mike is an incredibly smart player”. While he has an array of tools at his disposal, it is the way he chooses to use them that is most impressive. In the passing game “he makes the smart, safe pass, but can also thread the needle when it’s there. His passes are very accurate, hard, and clean”. When in the corners “Mike possesses a variety of methods for winning battles and shifts easily from one to another. He can power over a player one time and finesse him the next. He has excellent footwork and 90% of the time will come away with the puck.”
However, as unselfish a player as Knoepfli might sound, his 45 goals in 47 games will attest that he is an established finisher both in close where he can use his 6’2″ 205 lb frame to his advantage or coming in from the wing. Moon points out that his charge “has an outstanding slapshot as well as a quick snapshot (and) will always go to the net on the rush.” Once there Read more»