Pending Free Agent Corban Knight is Probably a Canucks Fan

Corban Knight via the NCHC blog.

Over the weekend the Nation Network’s Jason Gregor interviewed unsigned Florida Panthers draft pick Corban Knight in a column for the Edmonton Journal. In that piece Corban Knight revealed that he, a Florida Panthers fifth round pick in the 2009 NHL draft, intended to hit free-agency. Since 2009 Florida has retained exclusive negotiating rights to Knight because he was a bonafide student through to his graduation this spring. The deadline to sign "bonafide students" after their graduation from an NCAA school is on August 15th of the league year, so that means Corban Knight will randomly become an unrestricted free-agent in the middle of August.

Knight was ranked as the fourth best prospect in the deep Florida Panthers system last summer by Corey Pronman of ESPN Insider and Hockey Prospectus. Knight’s an aspiring face-off ace who has produced at a point per game rate in American college hockey ever since he became a sophmore. So yeah, Knight – who is listed as being born in the fruit stand capital of the world a.k.a. Oliver, British Columbia but is actually a resident of High River, Alberta – is likely to have some suitors this summer.

One of those suitors will probably be the Canucks, an NHL team that Corban Knight appears to cheer for. Read past the jump.

Here’s Corban Knight giving an otherwise not noteworthy interview for while wearing a Canucks jersey in January of 2011:

And here’s one of Corban Knight’s college teammates – Edmonton Oilers prospect Dillon Simpson – beaking Knight on June 17th, 2011 (two days following the Canucks’s game seven loss to the Boston Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, a loss which resulted in mass riots in downtown Vancouver).

So Corban Knight’s birth certificate says "British Columbia" on it, there’s a fair bit of public evidence that he is (or was recently) a Canucks fan, and he styles himself as a two-way, third-line centre and face-off ace. Sound like something the Canucks could use?

Of course just because a guy was born in a certain region and rooted for that region’s professional hockey team while growing up, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll choose an offer from that same team when presented with several from a variety of National Hockey League organizations. Career choices like the one facing young Mr. Knight this August are all about the "fit", and maybe an opportunity with the Canucks and Comets doesn’t sounds as appealing as one with, say, Edmonton and Oklahoma for whatever reason.

The Canucks and Oilers were rumoured to have recently gone head-to-head in bidding on the services of goaltender Joacim Eriksson, who signed with the Canucks this past weekend. Of course, the summer before it was West Kelowna’s Justin Schultz spurning the aging team he rooted for growing up to join a ridiculously talented young core in Edmonton. Will the competition for Knight’s services represent the prospect recruitment rubber match between the two Western Canadian clubs?

Update: Or maybe, in a surprise twist, Knight will instead be dealt to the Flames and sign there. Damn you M. Night Shymalan, damn you.

As we said, fandom might not mean much to a player making a critical career choice. The Flames acquired the rights to Corban Knight early on Tuesday morning and by the afternoon has signed him to a two-year entry-level contract according to Bob McKenzie:

Moreover, it doesn’t seem like the Canucks were event finalists for his services:

I’d apologize to you for getting your hopes up, but honestly, I regret nothing.

Sticktap @lucmeister and @tucosalamanka.

  • JCDavies

    Oh man, I like this kid. His profile sounds like Keslers when he was young.

    He’s pretty much exactly what Van needs right now as their 3C. He’s young (but older and more experienced than Gaunce), on ELC and free to obtain. Time for Gillis to guarantee this kid a spot on the team. At worst he could play on the 4th line that always sucks anyways 🙂

    SIGN HIM GILLY. Put down the tuna and go after him.

  • elvis15

    Interesting prospect again we could bring in – if he’s interested. We actually have a spot open for someone like him to compete to win with the 3rd/4th line center being a position of need. Perhaps he isn’t quite ready for that yet, but then again perhaps he’s more ready than Schroeder or Gaunce to play that bottom six role. It wouldn’t hurt to be flanked on either side by Higgins and Hansen.

    As far as the Flames, they already have a number of centers but might like to add to the top 6. Cammalleri can play there as well, but they also have Backlund and Stajan. Reinhart’s a strong possibility for the latest center prospect to join the Flames, and Granlund won’t be far behind either. The Flames are just as likely to be chock full of centers – if not more – than the Canucks.

    This won’t be like Schultz where icetime behind too many players in the same position will be an issue. He’d have to compete with Schroeder, Gaunce and Lain for 3C (and then there’s whether or not we retain Lapierre or get someone else in a trade) but he’d likely have that chance.

  • elvis15

    Did a little research on this kid and every says he is a very humble guy, yet when he was asked if he thought he was ready for an NHL role, he seemed to believe he was. Would be a perfect fit for us right now, hope Gillis is all over this. Sounds like a great character guy who is all about the team. Wants to win.

    Comparable to Bergeron?

    Ok, I’ll settle down.

  • Big Cap

    There is NO chance Corban Kight signs with the Canucks.

    The fact his birth certificate says “British Columbia” means nothing! Justin Schultz was a BC boy and free agent who could have signed with Van. Instead he signed with a last place team, that is young and has tons of potential.

    The Canucks are in disarray. Luongo situation, No head coach, No cap space. Kesler is a band aid, this team has 1 win in the last 2 years in the playoffs, so there not exactly an elite team like they think they are, and this team is aging quick. There are NO young up and comers in the organization. Sorry to say, the window has closed!

    This kid will end up in Edmonton or Calgary where there is a plethora of young guns coming up and he will be able to make an immediate contribution!

  • @Big Cap in case you didn’t read the post: I essentially conceded that Knight’s birth place and fan loyalty meant nothing.

    As for the mess in Vancouver, things could look a lot different on August 15th (for better or for worse). It is the NHL after all.