When Jared Knight
talks about getting ready for the upcoming season, he can't hold back his smile.
"It's a fresh start," Knight said. "I'm glad I'm here in Minnesota, and it's going to be a good year."
Knight was a prolific goal-scorer in his three seasons for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League as a junior player. In 198 games played, Knight scored 76 goals and 157 points, and he was selected in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins.
But three seasons later, Knight had been hampered by injuries and had played in 104 games for the Providence Bruins in the AHL.
"With me, I'm going to be honest, I didn't play the way I was capable of in Providence," Knight said. "The numbers kind of show that."
Knight said he trained in Phoenix over the summer and is completely healthy. Though he said he's still getting familiar with some of the faces and people in this organization, he noticed a jump in his performance in the 16 games he played with Iowa last season.
"There's still a learning curve, but I think they're pretty similar, the two, Iowa and Minnesota, as far as systems go," Knight said. " Last year, finishing up with Iowa I had a really strong finish, and I want to continue that this year."
And though Knight was an offensive threat as a junior player, and said offense is still a big part of his game, he said it wouldn't completely carry him anymore.
"There's only a certain amount of guys that can rely on skill in the NHL, and those guys have to be sound defensively, and on the walls, but their offense pretty much takes care of them," Knight said. "With me, I can play offense, but it's the little things that are really going to help me make it to the next level."
That includes taking what Iowa Head Coach John Torchetti told him in exit meetings last year, which he worked on over the summer, like his wall work. It also means playing to his strengths, which Knight said include his speed, and his ability to take pucks to the net.
With a change of scenery, Knight is determined to play up to his potential, something he said he hasn't done as a professional as of yet.
"I just have to go back to the way I'm used to playing," Knight said. "I never did that in Boston and Providence. I didn't play like I did when I was in London, and last year when I was in Iowa I started to play like that again, and I'm going to play like that here, too."