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, Center
Auston Matthews, who has missed the past six games with an upper-body injury for the Zurich Lions in Switzerland's top professional league, is slated to make his return to the lineup Wednesday against Ambri-Piotta in the quarterfinal round of the Swiss Ice Hockey Cup.
Matthews is an A-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's September players to watch list. Zurich will play its next regular-season game against Lausanne HC on Friday.
Left wing Matthew Tkachuk, an A-rated skater for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, played with Matthews on USA Hockey's National Team Development Program last season. He said he's been following the progress of his former teammate and is happy to learn he'll be returning.
"It's tough but he's tough enough that he'll come back from it and as long as he's healthy for the World Junior Championship (beginning Dec. 26) he'll be a big part of the United States," Tkachuk said. "Hopefully he gets healthy in time and is able to recover. It's a big year for him, it's important to him and he'll recover from this."
The injury by Matthews occurred Oct. 23 in a 3-1 loss against Fribourg-Gotteron. He had an assist and one shot on goal in Zurich's next game two days later, a 6-3 victory against SCL. Matthews leads National League A, with 10 goals. He also has 16 points and 46 shots on goal in 14 games.
"I'm feeling better and, as of now, the plan is for me to play," Matthews told NHL.com Friday via text message.