Auston Matthews didn’t make the initial cut for Team North America at the World Cup, but he was Team USA’s first choice for the 2016 World Championship.
The 18-year-old forward was named to the squad by USA Hockey on Thursday afternoon. The Scottsdale, Arizona, native spent the 2015-16 season with the Zurich Lions in Switzerland’s National League A, where he earned the Rising Star Award after scoring 24 goals and 46 points in just 36 games. His play all but cemented his standing as the top player available in this year’s draft.
This will be his second stint with the national team this season. Matthews tied for the tournament lead with seven goals and added four assists to lead the Americans to a bronze medal at the 2016 World Juniors.
This will also be his second go-round with the men’s team. Matthews skated in one exhibition game with Team USA ahead of the 2015 World Championship but, at 17, was deemed too young to be part of the tournament squad.
USA Hockey will finalize its roster and coaching staff after the conclusion of the NHL regular season. The bulk of the squad will be comprised of players whose teams fail to make the playoffs, along with some reinforcements from European teams and the NCAA.
The tournament, which takes place in Moscow and St. Petersburg, kicks off on May 6.