Toronto Maple Leafs Rookie Likely To Make Playoff Debut In Game Two

He supplied some glimpses of his immense talent in a three-game NHL trial at the end of the regular season. Now freshly-signed Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Matthew Knies appears to be on the verge of making his Stanley Cup Playoff debut.

Knies would be the recipient of an upcoming opening in the Maple Leafs' lineup, courtesy of the head hit delivered by Michael Bunting in Game One, with the likelihood that the 1st-line winger will be suspended for Game Two.

In true, 20-year-old fresh-faced rookie fashion, Knies says “I’d be super-stoked. It’s every kid’s dream to play for the Stanley Cup.” 

The new Leafs lines were unveiled at practice Wednesday morning, the day after a disheartening and concerning 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game One. And they feature Knies playing on a 3rd line with veteran Ryan O'Reilly and Noel Acciari. 

Head coach Sheldon Keefe, however, isn't committing to anything for certain just yet, saying he could still decide to go with 11 forwards and seven D. He did admit, however, “We brought him in here for a reason and gave him the (regular season) games we gave him for a reason — because we felt he'd be a good option for us if needed.”

The rookie is currently living in captain John Tavares's basement, and got a quick indoctrination into real life in Toronto while trying to keep up with his teammate on the drive home after the game Tuesday night.  

“[Traffic] kind of stinks, to be honest," said Knies. "Getting home from the game... I lost JT for a little bit. So I was on my own, stranded in Toronto.” 

Hopefully for the Leafs, he'll be able to navigate the traffic thrown at him on the ice by the Lightning in Game Two.

 Photo: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports