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Patient Knight happy with hometown deal

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

[Monday] things were kind of put in motion a little bit. I was getting calls from my agent and other people and it sounded like something was going to happen pretty quick. I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night. I was pretty antsy, pretty excited. Corban Knight

CALGARY, AB -- Corban Knight had an inkling of what to expect.

He just didn't know when exactly to expect it.

And when the Florida Panthers prospect hit the pillow Monday night, Knight anticipating waking up as a member of the Calgary Flames.

It didn't quite happen the way he anticipated.

"[Monday] things were kind of put in motion a little bit," Knight explained. "I was getting calls from my agent and other people and it sounded like something was going to happen pretty quick. I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night. I was pretty antsy, pretty excited.

"Then woke up [Tuesday] morning and didn't see anything yet so I was like 'okay, I'll just wait'."

The delay wasn't a long one.

Sometime during a workout at Crash Conditioning in Calgary's southeast, news hit of the trade that brought Knight to the Flames in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft later this month.

He had more than a few break the news to him.

"After I was done working out, I looked at my phone and it was pretty blown up," the University of North Dakota alum admitted. "I clued in at that point that something had happened. I made a couple calls and found out it had been done and I was pretty excited."

Knight is starting to get used to waiting a little longer as he's learning that the old 'good things come' cliche rings true.

Capping a four-year career at North Dakota with a personal best 49 points and a top-10 Hobey Baker nomination to put a bow on his collegiate career, Knight had hoped to make a quick transition into pro hockey.

But he and the Panthers couldn't make it happen.

"After the season, it was one of those things where I wanted to get things going and hopefully get some pro games in, whether it be in the AHL or wherever," Knight said. "Things were at a stalemate a little bit."

That's when the fifth round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft decided it was time to explore alternatives.

"About two or three weeks after the season we came to the conclusion it wasn't going to happen with us so my agent and I and my family made that decision and we told Florida," Knight said.

The alternative, as it would play out, was just up the road from his hometown.

Born in Oliver, BC., Knight grew up in High River, just 30 minutes south of Calgary and jumped at the opportunity to join the Flames organization.

"Growing up from around here you see the passion and the tradition the 'Flaming C' has in this area and all the fans, it's unbelievable the support you get," Knight said after sheepishly acknowledging he had some allegiances to the Vancouver Canucks. "From that standpoint it's hard to turn down."

So too is the opportunity that presents itself before Knight. With a position down the middle up for grabs in training camp, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound pivot knows opportunity is knocking.

"It's a pretty exciting time to be a young guy coming up to try to make your spot in the NHL and specifically with the Flames," Knight said. "It's every kid's dream to play in the NHL and to know I could be pretty close it's exciting, but at the same time I have a lot of respect for the guys that are in the NHL now and how hard it takes to get there.

"It's going to be something where it's exciting but I can't get too far ahead of myself. I have to come into training camp and even development camp and work extremely hard and try to leave my impression and try to work my way onto the team."

With just Mikael Backlund and Matt Stajan as natural centres currently signed on to take draws next season, Knight is hoping to bolster that depth.

If the team doesn't feel the first-year pro will be ready for such a responsibility, that's more than alright for Knight.

"Obviously it would be nice to be able to fill a hole but I trust the management here, I've talked with them and I know they're going to do what's best for my career and the team, whether it be filling that hole right away or maybe developing a bit and then filling that hole," he said. "It doesn't matter to me. I'm just excited to be a part of this organization and work towards a spot come training camp."

Knight's trust in the organization comes from both conversations and observations he's made in trying to decide his future.

He's sold on what the Flames are building.

"Meeting with the management and coaches and some of the guys that I've talked to on the team, it just seemed like they have a good grasp of where they're at and where they're going," Knight said. "To be a part of something like that, it's almost too good to turn down because I really feel like they're heading in the right direction.

"To be a part of something like that is pretty exciting."

Though he's not completely certain what to expect next, Knight knows he has the opportunity to start his pro career in the NHL.

"I'm going to work as hard as I can for the rest of summer and go into training camp expecting to make the team based on my performance in training camp," he said. "I know it's going to be tough but you've got to set high goals and that's going to be my goal heading in there -- to make the team."

And start his pro career in Calgary.

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