|Born||September 17, 1997 |
San Ramon, California
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight||216 lb (98 kg; 15 st 6 lb)|
|NHL team||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|National team||United States|
|NHL Draft||1st overall, 2016|
Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews (born on September 17, 1997) is an American professional ice hockey player who is currently playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL). Previously, he played for the U.S. National U18 Team in the USHL.
Widely considered the number-one prospect of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, he was drafted first overall by Toronto, becoming the franchise's most recent first overall selection since Wendel Clark in 1985.
Amateur Playing Career
Auston was drafted 57th overall by the Everett Silvertips in the WHL Bantam Draft, but he opted to play for the USNTDP Juniors (USHL). That season, he played for the U.S. National U17 Team (USDP) where he gained national attention from NHL scouts.
In his second season with the U.S. National U18 Team (USDP), Auston finished first in league scoring with 116 points (55 goals, 61 assists), breaking the National Team Development Program record of 102, set by Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane in 2005–06 and besting Buffalo Sabres' Jack Eichel by 29 points.
On May 21, 2015, he won the USA Hockey Bob Johnson Award for excellence in international competition.
Auston trained with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program team during the 2013–14 and 2014–15 seasons.
He was named the 2015 Most Valuable Player at the World U18 Championships in addition to being named to the IIHF All-Star Team and was named the IIHF Best Forward after finishing as the tournament's top scorer.
Professional Playing Career
In late June, Auston was selected first overall in the 2016 draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, becoming the first American to be picked with the top selection since Patrick Kane in 2007.
He had been widely expected to go first overall for over a year leading up to the event, consistently topping prospect charts and major scouting reports. Had he made the age cutoff for the 2015 draft, many NHL scouts believed he could have challenged Jack Eichel for the second overall selection.
Media speculation suggested that Auston and the team had engaged in a minor contract dispute over the issue of performance bonuses; he was asking the team for a contract similar to that of Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel (which were both valued at $3.775 million annually with all bonuses factored in).
Although Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello has been very open over his disapproval of including bonuses in player contracts in the past, he was very clear in stating that performance bonuses were never an issue while discussing Auston's contract. It is widely expected that first overall selections, as well as any other highly-touted early draft picks, receive the maximum entry-level compensation under the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Lamoriello had previously been involved in a contract dispute while in New Jersey with 4th overall pick Adam Larsson over the issue of bonuses. Larsson came out of negotiations without any performance bonuses attached to his entry-level deal.
On July 21, 2016, the two parties finalized a deal with Matthews inking a three-year entry-level contract, which included the maximum allocation of performance bonuses. Lamoriello would go on to state that the contract was agreed upon within 10 minutes of sitting down with Auston's agent Pat Brisson, and that the deal was done "the Toronto way." Brisson would later confirm that the two parties did not have any issues ironing out the deal. The contract was identical in value to those McDavid and Eichel had secured a year earlier.
Two weeks later, Auston was given the NLA Youngster of the Year award, which is reserved for the league's top rookie. It would be his fifth award from his stint in Switzerland.
On October 2, 2016, Auston made his Maple Leafs preseason debut in a game against the Montreal Canadiens, playing on a line alongside William Nylander and Zach Hyman. He had originally missed training camp and the first few exhibition games of the season due to participating in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
On October 12, 2016, during the Maple Leafs season opener against the Ottawa Senators, Auston made his regular season debut playing with pre-season linemates Hyman and Nylander. A few minutes into the first period, he scored his first career goal on his first NHL shot, becoming the twelfth player selected first overall to score in their first game.
About six minutes later, Auston scored again on a play that involved maneuvering around all five Senators' players and scoring on the short side. Just one minute and twenty-five seconds into the second period, he scored his third goal on as many shots, completing the hat trick. In doing so, he became one of only five players in the history of the NHL to score a hat trick in their debut, and the first number one overall pick to do so.
With three seconds left in the second period, Auston scored again on a pass from Nylander, thus becoming the first rookie to score four goals in his NHL debut. Previously, Joe Malone and Harry Hyland scored five goals each in their NHL debuts on December 19, 1917 (the first game in the history of the then newly formed NHL; both had played in the National Hockey Association, the predecessor of the NHL).
Despite the historic performance, the Maple Leafs lost the game 5–4 in overtime with Auston scoring all of Toronto's goals.
For his effort, Auston was applauded and congratulated by various past and current NHL stars and other celebrities, some of which include Teemu Selanne, Doug Gilmour, Kris Letang, Tyler Seguin, Roberto Luongo, the Columbus Blue Jackets & actor Stephen Amell. Daniel Briere (one of Auston's idols growing up) also offered his congratulations. His jersey would go on sale following his debut, where it quickly became the highest selling sweater in the league.
Throughout the rest of the month, Auston would continue to tally points, recording eleven in nine contests, good enough for third in league scoring and second among rookies (behind Nylander in both categories, who had eleven points). He was named the runner-up for the Rookie of the Month award (which was presented to William Nylander for October).
Two months later in the NHL Centennial Classic on January 1, 2017, Auston scored the game-winning goal in overtime, securing a 5–4 victory for the Maple Leafs.
Regular season and playoffs
|2013–14||U.S. National Development Team||USHL||44||24||26||50||18||—||—||—||—||—|
|2014–15||U.S. National Development Team||USHL||60||55||61||116||30||—||—||—||—||—|
|Competitor for Template:Ihj|
|Men's ice hockey|
|IIHF World U18 Championship|
|IIHF World U20 Championship|
Auston helped lead Team USA to gold at the U18s in 2014 and 2015 while leading the tournament in scoring and being named MVP in 2015.
At the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships held in Helsinki, Auston and Matthew Tkachuk each scored 11 points to lead the American team in scoring. After losing in the semifinals, the American team beat Sweden to claim the bronze medal. In recognition of his play, he was named to the tournament All-Star Team.
Later that year, Auston played with the US national men's team for the 2016 IIHF World Championship tournament where he lead the team in scoring.
|USHL Third All-Star Team||2014–15|
|USHL single season points record (116)||2014–15|
|Swiss Ice Hockey Cup gold medal with the ZSC Lions||2015–16|
|NLA Rising Star Award||2015–16|
|NLA Media All-Star Team||2015–16|
|NLA Media Most Improved Player||2015–16|
|World U-17 Hockey Challenge gold medal||2014|
|IIHF World U18 Championship gold medal||2014|
|IIHF World U18 Championship gold medal||2015|
|IIHF World U18 Championship Most Valuable Player||2015|
|IIHF World U18 Championship scoring leader||2015|
|IIHF World Junior Championship All-Star Team||2016|
Auston was born in the San Francisco Bay Area to Brian (from California) and Ema, originally from Mexico. He is of Mexican descent through his mother and can speak some Spanish. Auston has two sisters, Alexandria (who is three years older) and Breyana (who is five years younger).
He comes from a family of athletes with his father having played college baseball and with an uncle who played in the NFL. The family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona when Auston was two months old.
Auston began attending Phoenix Coyotes games when he was two years old and his favorite players were Shane Doan and Daniel Briere. Initially, he didn't have much interest in the sport, but was captivated by the zamboni machine that cleaned the ice during intermissions.
Auston first expressed a desire to play hockey shortly after his sixth birthday, and began playing with the Arizona Bobcats minor hockey program. When he was younger, he played both hockey and baseball.
According to his father, baseball was Auston's best sport, but his true passion was hockey.