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. NHL.com will follow his journey leading to the NHL draft this season with a weekly update.
Auston Matthews, who has missed the past three games because of an upper-body injury, remains day-to-day.
|AUSTON MATTHEWS, Center
The news was confirmed by CAA Sports Agency, Matthews' representatives. Zurich is scheduled to play HC Davos on Tuesday, and Matthews' availability for the game is not yet known.
An A-rated prospect for the 2016 NHL Draft on NHL Central Scouting's September players to watch list, Matthews leads National League A, Switzerland's top pro league, with 10 goals. He also has 16 points and 46 shots on goal in 14 games.
He sustained his injury Oct. 23 during a 3-1 loss against Fribourg-Gotteron when he fell hard into the boards. He missed his next two shifts but did return to the game. Matthews had an assist and one shot on goal in Zurich's next game two days later, a 6-3 victory against SCL.
Despite the injury, Matthews, a native of Scottsdale, Ariz., told NHL.com that he's comfortable saying Switzerland has become his home away from home.
"Being here for a couple months now I've definitely settled in not only at the rink but outside of it as well," he said. "My teammates here have been very welcoming and I'm really getting to know everyone extremely well. We have a really tight group and I believe it's translating on the ice for us."
Matthews said he's trying to keep tabs on the action back home despite being 5,600-plus miles away.
"With the time change it's usually the middle of the night when NHL games are being played so I typically watch all the highlights in the morning at the rink along with some other guys," Matthews said. "I've been keeping in touch with a lot of teammates of mine from the past two years at (USA Hockey's National Team Development Program), including some draft-eligible guys like Matthew Tkachuk, Luke Kunin and Clayton Keller."
Tkachuk (London Knights, Ontario Hockey League), Keller (USNTDP, United States Hockey League) and Kunin (University of Wisconsin) also are A-rated skaters for the 2016 draft.
"It's fun to talk with them and share stories about what's going on in our lives," Matthews said. "They're all great friends and hockey players."