Auston Matthews, an A-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's September players to watch list for the 2016 NHL Draft, has been named a finalist for the Male Olympic Athlete of the Year by USA Hockey.
The United States Olympic Committee made the announcement Thursday. The winner will be announced during the Team USA Awards, which will be held at the University of Pennsylvania's Houston Hall in Philadelphia on Dec. 10.
Matthews, who is playing for Zurich in National League A, Switzerland's top professional league, sustained a back injury Oct. 23. The 18-year-old is expected to return to the lineup Nov. 12 following a short break in league competition. He has 10 goals, 16 points and a plus-2 rating in 14 games for Zurich.
Last season Matthews established two records with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program under-18 team with 55 goals and 117 points, breaking marks of 52 goals and 102 points set by Patrick Kane in 2005-06. He had a tournament-high 15 points and tied for the lead with eight goals to help the United States win the gold medal at the 2015 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. He also was named tournament MVP and Best Forward. Matthews also played for the U.S. at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. Matthews is expected to be a key piece of the U.S. at the 2016 WJC, which starts Dec. 26 in Helsinki, Finland.
Matthews also was named USA Hockey's Bob Johnson Award recipient after completing his NTDP career with 79 goals and 167 points in 104 games.