LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Auston Matthews, a frontrunner to be the top pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, announced Friday that he will play for Zurich in the Swiss National League in 2015-16.
The announcement came after months of speculation that the 17-year-old center might instead play for Everett of the Western Hockey League. Matthews was selected in the third round (No. 57) by Everett in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.
Matthews, who signed a one-year contract with Zurich and said he will join the Lions after he turns 18 on Sept. 17, is with 32 other U.S. prospects at United States National Evaluation Camp. The U.S. will play Finland on Saturday.
"I am deeply grateful to the ZSC Lions for the opportunity to be a part of their wonderful organization and look forward to joining them next month," Matthews said in a statement. "For now, however, my commitment is to my teammates and USA Hockey as we prepare to win tomorrow’s game."