Last year’s NHL Entry Draft had two generational talents in Connor McDavid, and Jack Eichel, and the two have shown flashes of greatness in their short NHL careers. Teams made the decision to sell early with hopes of increasing their chances of landing one of the top two picks.
This year’s draft doesn’t have the talent compared to last year, but does have one player that a team can count on to be a star. Auston Matthews is an American born Center, that is currently playing in the Swiss National League for the ZSC Lions. Auston Is a similar build to Jack Eichel, and the team that lands the top pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft will definitely be getting a franchise Center to build around.
Many were surprised of Matthews decision to play in Switzerland’s Professional League, instead of following the path of Jack Eichel and play Collegiate Hockey. The other top option was to play in the Canadian Hockey League, and play alongside top prospects of his draft class to showcase how much better he was than the others. He instead chose the Swiss League, and has not disappointed. Auston is already being called the “Class of the League” in the Swiss National League. In 14 games played, he has 10 goals and 6 assists.
Matthews wants to build his game similar to Jonathan Toews, but the Swiss League lacks the physical nature the NHL would throw at him. He will continue to dominate this League showcasing the run on American Born NHL hockey prospects.
I will be looking forward to watching him compete in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Finland, which starts Dec. 26.
Auston Matthews is definitely a top talent that won’t disappoint from an American Prospect Pool that is starting to produce some talented players in a sport dominated by Canadian Born players.
Below is a video of his highlights from the 2015 WJC