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NHL Draft

Matthews has talked to Maple Leafs: report

Top prospect said he spoke with Toronto GM Lamoriello

by @NHL

Auston Matthews, the projected first pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, told TSN he has spoken with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will select first.

Matthews, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound center ranked No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's international list of skaters for the 2016 draft, said he talked to general manager Lou Lamoriello and director of player personnel Mark Hunter.

"It was nice to meet them, talk to them, see what they thought," Matthews said. "Get their thoughts on things.

"It's more get-to-know-you sort of things. I never met with either of them before. It was nice to meet them."

Matthews said it would be special to be chosen by the Maple Leafs.

"It's the Toronto Maple Leafs, hockey mecca of the world," he said. "They have a world-class coach (Mike Babcock). If that were to happen it would be pretty special."

Matthews leads the United States with two goals and four points in three games at the 2016 IIHF World Championship in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.

A Scottsdale, Ariz., native, Matthews had 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games with Zurich in National League A, Switzerland's top professional league. He was runner-up for the league MVP award.

Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan spoke highly of Matthews at the NHL Draft Lottery.

"He's obviously a player who has played a lead role his whole life," he said. "He has good size, plays center and I feel like he can score from the perimeter. But he also has a knack for going to the net and banging in some garbage goals home as well. He's definitely someone who has earned the right to be where he is today."

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