Auston Matthews, who many project to be the No. 1 pick of 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 sustained a back injury while playing for Zurich in National League A, the top professional league in Switzerland, and will not be able to play for the United States at the Deutschland Cup, which will be held Nov. 6-8 in Augsburg, Germany.
The injury was confirmed by CAA Sports Agency, Matthews' representatives. He will be re-evaluated Monday.
|AUSTON MATTHEWS, Center
Thomas Roost of NHL Central Scouting said the injury, initially sustained Oct. 23, is not severe and that the 18-year-old is expected to return to the lineup following league's two-week break.
Zurich (13-4-2), which is in first place in the 12-team league, next plays Nov. 12 against Geneve-Servette HC.
Mark Osiecki replaced John Tortorella as coach of the U.S. men's select team at the Deutschland Cup when the latter accepting the job as coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 21.
"I hope Austin is OK and that he recovers quickly," Mark Osiecki, who will coach the U.S. at the Deutschland Cup, told NHL.com via e-mail. "I don't know the extent of his injury. But getting back to being healthy is more important than a single tournament."
Osiecki coached Matthews at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto, so he knows what kind of player the 6-foot-1, 210-pound center can be.
Zurch coach Marc Crawford has learned about Matthews this season and has nothing but praise for the 18-year-old.
"By the second or third game he was the team's top guy, and by his seventh or eighth game he was the class of the league," Crawford said.