Welcome to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Samuel Knazko.
The Jackets took Knazko, a 6-foot-1 Slovakian defenseman, with their third-round selection, 78th overall, in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft Wednesday.
Knazko, a puck-moving blueliner, has collected 2-3-5 in nine games with the TPS U20 team in Finland's top junior league this season. He notched 7-21-28 in 48 games with the club in 2019-20, leading all defensemen in goals that campaign.
The Knazko File
- DOB: August 7, 2002 (18)
- NATIONALITY: Slovakian
- POS: Defense
- SIZE: 6-1/191
- SHOOTS: Left
“[Knazko is a] mobile skater with first-step quickness,” Goran Stubb of the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau said about Knazko. “He moves the puck well and never panics – he has the game under control.”
While he'll need work on his defensive zone game, Knazko is a great passer for a defenseman:
Knazko's passing skills are refined for a defenceman. He can find players in the seam and on the breakout with great accuracy. He's comfortable with making plays from his backhand and makes sharp passes with good power behind them. His mobility stood out; he has the skating ability to be effective defending against the rush and during long cycles.
A native of Trencin, Slovakia, Knazko shoots left and already has a good frame at just 18 years of age, weighing over 190 pounds. He has experience with the Slovakian national team, playing in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in 2018 and 2019 where he totaled two points and six penalty minutes in eight games.