To get to know Connor Knapp
, look no further than his collegiate goalie mask.
On the back of his helmet is symbol reading M2
, which may provide the best synopsis of the young netminder’s philosophy:
“It means mind times matter. I don’t believe in mind over matter,” Knapp said in CCHA’s Behind the Mask interview. “I believe there is a combination of both physical and mental [ability] that makes you a good player.”
If Knapp’s mental quickness is as great as his stature, the Sabres’ latest prospect should be interesting to watch develop.
Standing at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds and still growing at the age of 19 years old, Knapp believes his height can - on many levels - put him above the competition.
“I can obviously play a little deeper, cover more angles,” Knapp said. “Smaller goalies are usually a little faster because they can get their feet under them quicker than I can, but that balances out because I can play deeper and get to shots quicker with less distance to go.”
Knapp proved that in his freshman year at Miami University playing in 23 games for the Red Hawks and compiling a 13-5-3 record with a 2.09 GAA and .904 save percentage.
More recently, he stood out at the Sabres Development Camp at Niagara University – towering over the other goaltending prospects.
“Everyone is getting bigger at this level,” Knapp said at the camp. “I’m the biggest goalie here, but it doesn’t make up for everything.
“It takes a while for me to get my speed up to par with the little guys who are faster. I need to get quicker.”
The Sabres feel he can, selecting Knapp in the sixth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, 164th overall.
Born in York, NY (outside of Rochester) Knapp is already familiar with the organization and grew up watching players like Dominik Hasek and Ryan Miller
While he now patterns his game after sizable goaltenders Mike Smith in Tampa Bay and Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo, Knapp hopes to one day wear the Blue and Gold.
He just has to find the balance of mind and matter.
Author: Erin Pollina | Sabres.com