2016 first overall draft pick Auston Matthews has been named the rookie of the year of Switzerland’s NLA, the league announced on Friday.
— Swiss Ice Hockey (@SwissIceHockey) August 5, 2016
Matthews played one year with the ZSC Lions of Switzerland’s top professional hockey league, tallying a staggering 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games.
The Scottsdale, Arizona native was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs with the number one pick in June’s draft. He projects to be a franchise centerman who can play both sides of the ice and put up a lot of goals.
The journey is just beginning for the 18-year-old. He will be the centerpiece of Toronto’s young core, one which includes the likes of William Nylander, Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen and Morgan Rielly, amongst others.
Auston Matthews ultimately passed up the junior and college hockey routes in North America to play with men overseas, and it looks like he made the right decision.
Matthews absolutely dominated the Swiss league with ZSC and proved that he is more than ready to make the jump to the NHL right out of the gate.
Now that the young forward has won one rookie of the year award, he will be on a mission to do it again this year in the NHL. He is the favorite to do so this upcoming season as he looks to lead this success-hungry Maple Leafs organization back to the playoffs.