Who is Auston Matthews?
- Updated: October 17, 2016
Auston Matthews got the attention of every sports fan when he was able to score four goals in his first NHL game, a feat that has never happened before in the history of the league. Die hard hockey fans already knew the potential of Auston Matthews, but he was not known by most causal NHL fans. Here is everything you need to know about the next great superstar in the NHL.
Auston Matthews has drawn the attention of NHL teams since he started his amateur career with the United States National Team Developmental Program in 2013. During his two years in the United States Hockey League, Matthews went on to score a total of 79 goals in only 104 games. The 116 points he scored in his second season of amateur hockey also topped a record set in 2006 by Patrick Kane by 14 points. After two great years of amateur hockey in the United States, Matthews opted to play professional hockey in Europe instead of going to college. Matthews knew he only had one more year before he could become eligible for the NHL draft, so he wanted it spend it playing against the best competition possible.
Matthews signed a one-year contract to play for the ZSC Lions of National League A in Switzerland. Despite missing a few games to injury, Matthews still managed to tally 24 goals and 22 assists in only 36 games. He ultimately finished the year as the second highest scorer in the league, which helped him finish second the MVP voting. Matthews lost both awards to Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who spent 11 seasons in the NHL before heading to Switzerland.
After a successful year of professional hockey in Switzerland, Auston Matthews was finally eligible for the NHL. It was not a shock when the Toronto Maple Leafs took Matthews with the first overall pick of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. It would not take long for hockey fans to get a chance to see Matthews play against some great competition. He was selected to take part in the World Cup of Hockey as a member of Team North America. The team put on an impressive display against older competition, but they were still eliminated after three games. Despite the short tournament, Auston Matthews was tied for sixth in goals scored.
While he was one of the most prepared young stars in the league, nobody expected Auston Matthews to have such an iconic NHL debut. The Maples Leafs found themselves on the Blackhawks schedule to start the 2016-17 NHL season. Matthews wasted no time to get the scoring started. He put his first shot in the back of the net only eight minutes into the game. He added his second career goal less than six minutes later. The third goal came less than two minutes into the second period, and he added his fourth goal with three seconds left in the second period. This four-goal debut is even more impressive when you consider that Sidney Crosby has never scored four goals in one game in his entire career.
Despite the onslaught of goals by Auston, the Maple Leafs still lost 5-4 in overtime to Chicago. The team has a lot of work to do to get back to the elite of the NHL, and Matthews will certainly help.