Photo by Tom Sorensen
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz./2013-15), became the fourth National Team Development Program alumnus selected first overall in the NHL Entry Draft when he was chosen by the Toronto Maple Leafs here tonight at First Niagara Center. Previously, Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y./2004-06), Erik Johnson (Bloomington, Minn./2004-06) and Rick DiPietro (Winthrop, Mass./1997-99) earned the distinction as alumni of the NTDP tabbed first overall.
Matthews spent the 2015-16 season with the Zurich Lions in the Swiss National League A, Switzerland’s top professional league. He tallied 24 goals, which tied for the fourth highest in the league, and recorded 46 total points in 36 contests, which ranked second amongst all skaters. Matthews’ accomplishments earned him the league’s Rising Star Award, as well as a spot on the Media All-Star Team.
Prior to his time with Zurich, Matthews skated for two seasons with the USA Hockey’s NTDP (2013-15). In 104 games played, he netted 79 goals and registered 88 assists. Matthews holds NTDP records in single-season goals (55 in 2014-15) and single-season points (117 in 2014-15) and ranks in the top four in career assists, goals and points within the NTDP.
Internationally, the forward has represented the United States five times including two gold-medal finishes with the U.S. National Under-18 Team at the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Men’s World Championship in 2014 and 2015 and a bronze medal at the 2016 World Junior Championship.
The National Team Development Program has now produced the first U.S. player selected in five of the past six NHL Entry Drafts: Auston Matthews (2016), Jack Eichel (2015), Dylan Larkin (2014), Seth Jones (2013), J.T. Miller (2011) and Jack Campbell (2010) ... Toronto has now picked eight total NTDP products. The Chicago Blackhawks have picked more NTDP players (19) than any other NHL club followed by Colorado and Anaheim who have each tabbed 16 NTDP alumni.