At just 18 years old, Jordan Knackstedt was among the youngest players at the recent Bruins Development Camp and as such, Boston’s seventh round draft pick, 189th overall, was in uncharted waters -- after all, to be noticed and be drafted, there's no doubt that Jordan was one of the best players on his team in juniors.
“I came in not really knowing what to expect, but everyone has been great, and it is good to be back on the ice,” Knackstedt said of his first pro camp.
The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native had not been to a pro camp before like many of the older players at camp and as a seventh rounder, he also did not have the luxury of being an early-round pick like many of his young counterparts.
So though the coaching staff was downplaying the role of camp as an evaluation tool, Knackstedt was intent on proving his worth.
“You have to come in and work hard to make a good first impression,” Knackstedt said. “Especially as a player that was just selected.”
The lanky right-winger had been working hard all summer long, preparing to make that initial splash and spent the first half of the off season working out with a trainer in Saskatoon, as well as attending a number of hockey schools to honing his skills.
Knackstedt who has spent the last three years playing in the Western Hockey League – two-and-a-half years with the Red Deer Rebels, before finishing last season with the Moose Jaw Warriors – and has shown significant improvements to his game each year.
That's exactly what hockey operation staffers want to see out of a prospect.
As a first year player for the Rebels in 2004-2005, a 16 year-old Knackstedt managed to tally only three points in his 52 games played, but followed up with a 40 point effort his second season in Red Deer.
Last season, split between the Rebels and the Warriors, Jordan put up a career high 56 points while playing in all 72 games.
Jordan will return to Moose Jaw next season, being still too young to play for the P-Bruins, and not yet ready to make the jump all the way to the NHL, but he hopes to take what he learned at camp and continue to round out his game.
“Hopefully I will have a good year with my junior team next season, and then we will see that happens next summer,” Jordan said.
And as for that first impression he was looking to make – it was definitely a good one. Jordan looked good all week long, and capped off his camp with a nice goal in the final 4-on-4 scrimmage.
Jordan, like his teammates, was focused on putting his best foot forward on the ice, but the idea of the camp as a social tool was not lost on him.
“You work hard (on the ice), but you have to have some fun and meet new people too,” he said. “ I played with Jared Walker a couple of years back, but that is about it (as far as knowing anyone coming into camp), so I’m starting to meet and gel with the guys.”
Off-the-ice Jordan got his chance to hang with rest of the players while attending his first ever baseball game and Duck Tour.
“The Duck tours were great (because) I got to see the city,” he said. “And the Red Sox game was great too.
“I definitely had a good time,” he said.
Everything was new and exciting for Knackstedt, as he even added, “The hotel is nice.
"The beds are comfy, and the breakfast buffets have been awesome to come down to in the morning.
"Every place we have gone for dinner has been amazing too.”
And if he is amazed at his time at the B's Development Camp, just wait until he wears the Black & Gold in the Garden!