With their lone sixth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Nashville Predators dipped into the overage pool for the first time and selected forward Simon Knak.
The 6’1” forward, who wasn’t selected in his first year of eligibility last year, comes from the Portland Winterhawks program of the WHL. In 2019-20, he notched nine goals and 34 points in 49 games. This season, he went back home to Switzerland for the start of the year, scoring three goals and eight points in 25 games in the Swiss pro league. He then rejoined the Winterhawks for the WHL season and scored 16 goals and 29 points in 24 games.
He also added one goal in four games for Switzerland at the World Junior Championship.
Knak is a hard-working forward who could blossom into a useful bottom-six forward and penalty killer. He displayed a noticeable improvement in his leg strength this season and that improved his skating mechanics, but those are still a work in progress.
Offensively, Knak lacks creativity. He can drive the net hard and work the perimeter of the offensive zone, but he won’t dazzle opposing defenders with his puck skills, and I’d like to see him improve his passing and playmaking ability too.
All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com.