BUFFALO - It was a record-setting first round for American-born players and members of the United States National Team Development Program at the 2016 NHL Draft at First Niagara Center on Friday.
Twelve Americans were selected in the first round of the draft, which broke the record set in 2010. Center Auston Matthews, a native of Scottsdale, Ariz., was selected with the No. 1 pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Matthews was later joined by Matthew Tkachuk (No. 6, Calgary Flames), Clayton Keller (No. 7, Arizona Coyotes), Logan Brown (No. 11, Ottawa Senators), Charles McAvoy (No. 14, Boston Bruins), Luke Kunin (No. 15, Minnesota Wild), Jakob Chychrun (No. 16, Coyotes), Kieffer Bellows (No. 19, New York Islanders), Max Jones (No. 24, Anaheim Ducks), Riley Tufte (No. 25, Dallas Stars), Tage Thompson (No. 26, St. Louis Blues) and Trent Frederic (No. 29, Bruins).
A record-setting nine graduates of the USNTDP were included in the 12 American picks, doubling the previous record of six (2006).
"It's awesome. American hockey is just growing," Keller said. "The program [USNTDP] is probably the best place to play in the world if you're a 16-year-old kid looking to get stronger and better. The weight training there is unbelievable. The weight coaches and everyone there helps you feel like [you're] at home. They just make you get stronger; it's unbelievable."
Frederic was the 12th American taken when the Bruins drafted him at No. 29.
Frederic was also the fifth player from the St. Louis area, joining Tkachuk, Keller, Brown and Kunin.