Hard to imagine that Auston Matthews could top the week that he just had. The 17-year-old winger, widely regarded as the top prospect for the 2016 draft, just won gold with Team USA at the U18 World Championship where he was named tournament MVP after netting eight goals and 15 points in seven games.
But this might do the trick.
The Americans have made a habit out of showcasing young talent at the tournament, but Matthews will be the first player to suit up before he reaches draft eligibility.
No matter how he fares, it’ll be another entry in one of the most impressive résumés ever written for an American-born prospect. Playing as a member of the U.S. National Team Development Program this season, the 6' 2", 194-pound Matthews broke Patrick Kane’s single-season scoring record with 55 goals and 116 points in just 60 games. He also stood out as a double-underager with the Americans at the 2015 World Juniors, tallying three points in five contests.
There's no telling if he’ll make the final cut for the red, white and blue at the men’s Worlds tournament, but don’t rule him out. Either way though, it’s a remarkable achievement for one of the most exciting young talents in the game.