The projected number one overall pick for the 2016 NHL draft, Auston Matthews, is going to miss some time with the Zurich Lions, according to multiple reports. He’s been sidelined with a back injury that kept him out of the Lions final game before the league takes a short break for the Deutschland Cup, a tournament Matthews was supposed to be in, suiting up for the U.S. National Team.
Matthews has been outstanding so far in the NLA and has done everything he can to cement that number one overall consensus, but with other players near the top of projections playing well, it’s possible that an extended absence could impact his draft status.
However, it’s difficult to know exactly how long he’ll be out. Reports range from Sportsnet’s Damien Cox saying that he’ll miss several weeks to Swiss Hockey News stating that Matthews is expected back for Zurich when the team returns from break on November 12.
In just 14 games, Matthews has posted 10 goals and seven assists. His 10 goals lead the league and the 17 points put him second in points on the Lions.
With that kind of production, it’s hard to see this impacting his draft status. Matthews isn’t the first top prospect to sustain an injury during his draft year. The same happened to Connor McDavid last year while he was playing with the Eerie Otters and he had the Hobey Baker-winning Jack Eichel chasing him for that number one overall spot.
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Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.