Matthews also a big hit with the Swiss media

Monday, 01.25.2016 / 9:00 AM | Mike G. Morreale  - Staff Writer

Auston Matthews, who many project to be the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, is playing for Zurich in Switzerland's top professional league this season. will follow his journey leading to the NHL Draft this season with a weekly update.

Auston Matthews, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of international skaters eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, extended his goal streak to seven games for Zurich in Switzerland's top professional league.

Matthews had two goals and four points in two games last week, a 5-4 loss against Zug on Friday and 4-2 win against Geneve-Servette on Saturday. Matthews, 18, has eight goals, 13 points and a 27.58 shooting percentage in the past seven games.

Matthews may not be so hyped as to have rock-star status in Switzerland this season, but it's easy to see he is well-liked by the local media that covers the team. Journalist Silvan Schweizer of the Tages-Anzeiger and provides daily coverage of the Lions and the Kloten Flyers.

He told each media outlet in Switzerland became super excited when Zurich acquired Matthews.

"Every important newspaper and TV station has profiled him at least once since September and what is really impressive about him is his maturity, his understanding of the game," Schweizer said. "He's extremely professional, and it doesn't take long to realize he was media-trained in Ann Arbor (with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program)."

While Matthews is always cordial with the media, Schweizer said he at times is boring.

"He's not controversial and he's got his standard phrases with us like 'taking it one game at a time,'" he said. "I've met other 18-year-old players who were a lot more chatty, but Matthews talks as if he's already spent five years in the NHL."

Schweizer said Matthews is the best teenage player he's covered in his six years on the job. The best player he covered was Henrik Zetterberg when the Detroit Red Wings captain played 23 games for Zug during the 2012-13 NHL work stoppage.

"Matthews is on level with our best imports at the moment in [Fredrik] Pettersson of Lugano, [Perttu] Lindgren of Davos and [Pierre-Marc] Bouchard of Zug; he's probably above them," Schweizer said. "There are other guys for Zurich, like captain Mathias Seger, who are more popular for interviews because you get the more juicy quotes. But all these guys I mention are older; Matthews is just getting there."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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