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Zurich's Matthews continues to show improvement

by Mike G. Morreale

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. will follow his journey leading to the NHL draft with a weekly update.

What Auston Matthews didn't produce on the score sheet last week for Zurich in National League A, Switzerland's top pro league, he made up for in high-end puck movement and intelligence.

It has been what scouts have come to expect from the 6-foot-1, 210-pound left-shooting center.

Zurich, Switzerland
GP G A Pts Shots PIM +/-
19 11 9 20 62 2 +2

Matthews had one goal, four points and 11 shots on goal in three games for the Lions, who lead the league with 58 points.

In 19 games this season Matthews, 18, has 11 goals and 20 points. He is an A-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's November players to watch list.

"He could easily have had two goals in each of the games over the weekend. But what I like is his high-end puck-moving," said NHL Central Scouting's Thomas Roost. "His skating also stands out, his changing gears and directions, plus his small dekes with his feet that allow him to win split seconds of time.

"His positioning in the offensive zone is also really good as he tries to be open whenever entering the zone without the puck."

Matthews has one goal and four points in five games since returning to the lineup after missing six games because of an upper-body injury. His best outing since his return was in a 5-1 win against SCL when he had one goal, three points and five shots on goal Dec. 1.

"His play is approximately where he left off before his injury," Roost said. "I do feel his intensity and positioning without the puck in the defensive zone might be an area he could improve. But this is not at all alarming for such a young player."

Matthews will take part in USA Hockey's selection camp for the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Boston from Dec. 14-18.


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