2016 NHL Draft: Matthews having no trouble fitting in with ZSC Lions

By Ken McKenna
Auston Matthews - ZSC Lions Zurich - Champions Hockey League

Photo: ZSC Lions forward and 2016 prospect Auston Matthews elected to move to Switzerland to further his career rather than go the NCAA or WHL route (courtesy of Sparta Prague/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)

 

 

Back in early August at USA Hockey’s National Junior Evaluation Camp, Team USA forward Auston Matthews was asked about whether a decision had been made regarding the team he would compete for in the 2015-16 season. Matthews elected not to let the cat out of the bag, instead simply stating that a decision would be made after the completion of the NJEC.

As we now know, Matthews’ decision has taken him to Zurich, Switzerland, where he is suting up for the ZSC Lions of that country’s top league, the National League A (NLA). The move was considered an unusual one given that he just turned 18 in mid-September.

But Matthews is no ordinary, young hockey player as he has entered this season as the top prospect available for the 2016 NHL Draft. Indeed, Matthews’ talent has some saying that he could be the top talent to come out of the USA – ever. The fact that he was born and raised in Arizona makes Matthews story all the more compelling.

Matthews has done nothing in the early going to suggest that he won’t live up to the expectations that had been set for him coming into the season. In four NLA games, Matthews has scored three goals and added a pair of assists while putting 17 shots on net.

The Scottsdale, Arizona native took time to speak with SendtoNews for this video interview.

One of the deciding factors in Matthews’ move to Switzerland was the chance to play for former NHL head coach Marc Crawford. Crawford is in his fourth season behind the Lions’ bench after coaching in the NHL over the course of 15 seasons.

Crawford spoke with SendtoNews about having the chance to coach the player that could be the top selection in this year’s draft.

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