Columbus Blue Jacket Prospect Watch: is Samuel Knazko Drifting Away?

Samuel Knazko is one of the older prospects in the Jacket system, currently spending his second full season with the Cleveland Monsters.

Feb 16, 2022; Beijing, China;  Slovakia defender Samuel Knazko (22) moves the puck against  United
Feb 16, 2022; Beijing, China; Slovakia defender Samuel Knazko (22) moves the puck against United / George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports
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Knazko's first professional season also showed promise. He scored 21 points (1 goal) in 50 games for the Monsters last season, when they needed all the help they could get. He even debuted in the NHL for the Blue Jackets, playing 2 games late in the season and really, I didn't think he fared too poorly.

Unfortunately, as things go with a team that has made a lot of high draft picks and built organizational depth over the last few years; Knazko has been buried on the depth chart for the Monsters this year. As such, his production is slightly down.

He's a really good skater who plays a pretty solid all-around game. He can obviously chip in offensively and is a good passer, but he doesn't have any one trait that stands out and separates him from the pack of prospects here.

We have seen him play big minutes - and wear a letter - at the international level. So, I don't think all is lost for a guy who is still just 21 years old.

At this moment, I just have a hard time seeing where he fits in for the Jackets. With Zach Werenski being the only long-term player on the NHL roster; there is opportunity. But he'll have to fight for ice time with super prospect Denton Mateychuk, and flashy performer Stanislav Svozil as well.

He's definitely in that next tier of prospects, behind Mateychuk (top tier) and Svozil (second tier). Say, on a level with Corson Ceulemans; maybe a potential bottom pairing or #7 guy.

I don't think we can write Knazko off as a bust yet. But, at some point, he needs to break out at the AHL level to garner more attention. It won't be easy for him to push for an NHL job any time soon, as long as he's playing depth minutes in Cleveland.