Auston Matthews: The Next Jack Eichel


Jack Eichel is the best American NHL prospect in years. Auston Matthews, however, might take that role in the 2016 NHL draft where he is projected to be the first overall pick.

Matthews, like Eichel, will attend Boston University. He was just named the MVP of the U18 tournament overseas where the led USA to a championship.

At 17 years old, Matthews made history playing for the USA men’s team in an exhibition against Austria before he was ever draft eligible.

Matthews is still in the 11th grade and couldn’t play for the Terriers until 2016-2017, so he has the chance to move up quicker if he choses to play with the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips in Canadian juniors. Matthews verbally committed to the Terriers when he was 15 years old. The Silvertips selected him the third round of the bantam draft in 2012.

The Arizona native had said he wouldn’t make a choice until the U18s ended, and they just came to a close.

Matthews broke the U18 USA hockey program’s points record when he scored 114 points through 58 games, shattering the previous record of 102 points. That previous record was held by Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane. His step up is dramatic after having 17 points in 20 games in the season before.

Despite verbally committing to Boston University two years ago, other schools are considered in play for him- including Michigan, Denver, Boston College, and North Dakota and he is yet to make any official visits.

He and his people and his family told us they wouldn’t make a decision until after the U-18s, so we have another week to wait, they’ll be done Sunday,” Silvertips general manager Garry Davidson said to the Everett Herald. “We’ll just patiently wait until that’s over, then reach out to them and see exactly where they’re at.”

Matthews is projected to be the first overall pick in next year’s draft, no matter what ends up happening with the NCAA or the WHL.

Being from Arizona is of note for Matthews, as he would become the third ever NHL players from the desert state. The other two are Jim Brown, who played in three games for the Los Angeles Kings in 1982-1983, and current Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier.

The hype around Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel leading up to the 2015 draft isn’t unprecedented, but Matthews might be. Whoever wins the tanking battle for Matthews will have potentially the next Patrick Kane on their hands.