Flames rookie Knight looking to get settled after summer of questions
Forward aiming to land full-time gig in NHL, while helping his parents get back into their flooded-out High River house
Standing in the atrium outside the University of Calgary’s kinesiology wing, you could have sworn it was Corban Knight’s first day of school.
Except it wasn’t. Finally.
Technically a rookie — but, at six-foot-two, 200-pounds, and 22 years old, he’s clearly not — the High River native showed up Wednesday for his very first National Hockey League pre-season rookie camp with the Calgary Flames. This, after spending the past four seasons with the University of North Dakota and not eligible to attend a single camp during his time as a fifth-round draft pick of the Florida Panthers.
“It was a short summer, but it’s exciting,” said Knight shortly after being poked, prodded, and pushed to the limit in the Flames fitness testing on Wednesday. “This is an exciting fall for me and the rest of the guys here. To get things going with testing today and games (Thursday), it’s pretty exciting.
“This is my first (camp) so it’s all kind of new.”
Knight is in a new position, too, as one of the young centres trying to crack the Flames opening night roster on Oct. 3 at Washington. He’s older and a little more experienced than some of his counterparts which showed back in July at Calgary’s summer development camp and should translate on the ice this weekend at the Young Stars prospects tournament in Penticton.
But he’s also a little bigger — which he can attribute to some manual labour work this summer.
In the wake of June’s devastating floods in southern Alberta, his parents, Jack and Laurie, were forced to gut the basement and main floor of their High River home. Knight had spent his days training and helping out, trying to speed up the process. They still haven’t moved back into their home and are aiming for a return the middle of November.
“It’s been a summer of lot of those questions,” Knight said. “But it’ll be nice to get back in and put an end to it. That was the thing, in July there, I’d work out in the morning and head back to the house and would be throwing around drywall and hauling things out.
“For a while, it was two-a-day workouts. Which was good, but I’m definitely tired.”
As for the on-ice component of his summer, Knight has been working out with Flames strength trainer Rich Hesketh and skating at WinSport with a handful of the everyday NHLers on the roster including defenceman Mark Giordano.
He said being around the similarly-minded has been an eye-opener but makes him think it’s a goal that’s attainable.
“It’s given me a sense of how good the league is,” he said. “You watch it growing up and on T.V., it doesn’t really do it justice how good these guys are. It’s been an eye-opening experience this summer but I feel good and feel like I could definitely challenge for a spot in training camp.”
A point-per-game player in his last three years at UND, Knight could very well start in Calgary this season. The Flames have already given him a No. 10 sweater, a good indication of his chances.
However there are no guarantees at the moment and Knight, who signed a two-year entry level pact this summer (a base salary of $810,000 annually), is planning on showcasing his two-way game and his skill in the faceoff circle.
And, rookie or not, he hopes he impresses enough to stick around until the puck drops in October.
“Like I said, this is my first camp,” he said. “And I’m in the same boat as these guys that just got drafted, not really knowing what to expect.
“But, you know, I think I’m more excited than nervous right now to get things going. It’s my dream to play in the NHL. Definitely nervous and anxious but it’ll be exciting.”
Follow on Twitter/KristenOdlandCH
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald