The Auston Matthews watch has already been kicked into high gear, and it’s not hard to see why the 18-year-old appears to be the runaway leader in the race to become the first overall selection at the 2016 draft. If you need further evidence, though, a goal from his most recent game should do the trick.
In a game against HC Fribourg-Gotteron, Matthews scored a water bottle-popping tally that was NHL calibre. With Matthews’ ZSC Lions on the power play, he received a pass along the boards and had room to move into the middle of the ice. Matthews took the space and glided through the circle towards the slot area before pulling the puck back towards his body and unleashing a pinpoint-accurate wrist shot that found the sliver of daylight available:
Matthews, a native of Scottsdale, Ariz., chose to forego the college or major junior route in order to sign overseas with ZSC. The move was one of the first of its kind, and allowed Matthews to test his skill against pro competition before heading to the NHL. It’s worked out quite well for Matthews, too: in 20 games, he has 13 goals and 23 points, good for 17th in the league. And Matthews has missed 10 games, so he could be legitimately challenging for top spot in the league had he stayed healthy.
Before heading to Switzerland, Matthews smashed the U.S. National Team Development Program’s points record, previously held by Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane. Kane scored 102 points in 2005-06, and less than a decade later, Matthews caught and surpassed Kane’s total thanks to a 55-goal, 116-point season with Team USA.
Matthews will star for Team USA at the World Junior Championship later this month.
(Video via Reddit/VCBSportsRyan)