Report: Auston Matthews to Sign in Europe


Earlier on Thursday, Damien Cox of Sportsnet reported that 17 year-old Auston Matthews will sign with a European club for the 2015-16 season.

Matthews is considered the #1 prospect for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. He had a very impressive 2014-15 season where he broke Patrick Kane’s record of 102 points with the under-18 US National Development Program team by scoring 116 points in 60 games. In addition to breaking that longstanding record, Matthews played averaged 2 points per game playing with the USNTDP Juniors in 24 USHL games.

At the end of his regular season, Matthews traveled to Switzerland to play in the under-18 World Junior Championships where he led the tournament in scoring and helped Team USA win a gold medal. For his efforts, Matthews was named the tournament’s best forward and the tournament MVP.

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Auston Matthews is highly decorated for a 17 year old. However, he misses the cut off day for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by literally two days. His Canadian Hockey League rights are owned by the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League and he has no NCAA commitment.

On May 10th it was reported that he had signed with the  Zurich  Lions of the Swiss League, however it ended up being a rumor. These new reports likely mean that there is a bidding war among hockey clubs in Europe for the highly talented player.

He is potentially setting a trend for North American prospects by going to Europe in his draft year. This route in theory has massive advantages for a draft eligible prospect. Matthews will get a season of professional hockey under his belt which will benefit his development and also his bank account.

It will definitely be interesting to see which league Auston Matthews chooses. While there were reports that he did sign in Zurich earlier this month, I would think he signs with a team in Sweden.