The rookie class in this year’s NHL regular season has been unreal thus far. Who would have thought we would have names like Max Domi, Anthony Ducliar, among others near the top of rookie scoring. Jack Eichel continues to impress, and while oiler fans everywhere hold their breath for the return of the player dubbed “McJesus” let’s take a look at the young American player making waves overseas.
Matthews racked up an impressive Jr total under the US development program in the USHL. From 2013-2015 Matthews combined for 68 points in just 44 games. When he signed a deal in the Swiss league with Zurich, the hockey world got excited with the prospect of next year’s potential #1 playing a man’s game in one of the highest recognized leagues overseas. The Swiss league was home to Patrick Kane and Rick Nash during the most recent lockout, and has produced NHLrs like Nino Niterider and Jonas Hiller.
One of the things that drew Matthews to the Swiss league was Coach Mark Crawford. Crawford has seen time in the NHL and expressed his eagerness to coach the young man. An NHL.com article earlier this month quotes Crawford calling Matthews “class of the league” after just 14 games. Matthews has 10 goals and 7 assists, leading his team in scoring. It’s interesting to watch Matthews dart around the international ice. It makes me wonder how his transition back to the NA rinks will be once he is settled into what we assume will be the NHL in the next couple of years.
One thing that is certain though, this kid has amazing talent. Couple that with a hockey sense not seen in years, and we have one dangerous player. It will be fun for many to watch this young player grow into what we assume will be a superstar in the NHL. Who knows, if he plays anything like this year’s Calder candidates, we are in for a treat.