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2022 CBJ Top 25 Under 25: Is Samuel Knazko ready to take the next step?

The Slovak could bolster the Cleveland blue line

Edmonton Oil Kings v Seattle Thunderbirds - Game Three Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images

Thanks to everyone who voted for this year’s Top 25 Under 25 ranking. We had almost 100 submissions from Columbus Blue Jackets fans. Stay tuned as we count down the 25 highest voted players for the next month. Today, Samuel Knazko.

#20 Samuel Knazko


20th out of 40 eligible players
Writer Rank: 18
Reader Rank: 23
Highest placement: 4 (1 vote)
Most common placement: 20 & 21 (5 votes each)
2021 Rank: 23


Birthdate: August 7, 2002
Birthplace: Trencin, Slovakia
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 190 lbs
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Acquired: Drafted #78 overall in 2020

2021-22 Season

Knazko signed his ELC last summer, and then was loaned back to his Finnish club, TPS. After starting the season with the TPS U20 team in Finland, and putting up 14 points (4/10) in 15 games, the loan agreement was terminated and Knazko came over to North America to join the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL. He put up 20 points (5/15) in 27 games and helped the Thunderbirds reach the WHL finals.

In the middle of the season, Knazko got the opportunity to play with his senior national team in the Olympics. He earned just one assist, but played in all seven games as the Slovaks earned a surprise bronze medal. He also earned the honor of being captain of the junior team in the WJC that was cancelled in the winter.

2022-23 Outlook

A minor injury is keeping Knazko from playing in this month’s WJC, but let’s hope he can recover in time to play in Traverse City in September, followed by Jackets training camp. He could return to Seattle, but is also eligible to join the Cleveland Monsters.