Hockey World Blog

2016 Top Prospect Matthews Could Remain in North America

With the Connor McDavid sweepstakes behind us, the attention will turn to the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, to be held June 24-25 in Buffalo, NY. Scouts and fans eyes will be turning to Auston Matthews, the consensus No. 1 prospect according to many scouting services.

Matthews, who turns 18 in September, currently checks in at 6-foot-2 and 194 lbs. He missed the cutoff for this year’s draft by two days and scouting reports said that if he were eligible, he would have been among the top three selections with McDavid and Jack Eichel. The center is a native of Scottsdale, AZ but has spent the last two seasons in Ann Arbor, MI playing with the United States National Team Development Program.

Matthews is coming off a record-setting season with the Under-18 team. Patrick Kane had the previous record of 52 goals, 102 points in 2005-06 and Matthews smashed that by scoring 55 goals and 117 points. In addition, he was named most valuable player and best forward as the United States win the gold medal at the 2015 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

Matthews was looking to turn professional this summer and take his talents to Europe but that appears to have hit a snag. He was looking to sign with ZSC in Switzerland, who is currently coached by Marc Crawford. According to Pete Judge of ISS, Matthews is having trouble getting to play for Crawford due to work permit issues. Judge sent a tweet on Sunday that his troubles in getting a work visa because he’s never played professionally before.

If that won’t work, he will have to go to the WHL. The Everett Silvertips own Matthews’ CHL rights. His agent Pat Brisson has hinted in the past that if Europe doesn’t work, his client would likely head to the WHL.

Playing college hockey was considered a long shot, but he did list North Dakota, Denver, Michigan, Boston College, Wisconsin and Boston University as schools he was interested in.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming weeks to see if he does head to Switzerland or Everett.

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