Auston Matthews belongs to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The American center player became the first first-round pick of the franchise in 31 years and instantly the most important part of the ongoing reconstruction in Toronto.
A native of Scottsdale, Arizona, Matthews is seen as the potential answer to the needs of the Leafs in the center, a lack that has not really been filled since the retirement of Mats Sundin.
“I want to be an impact player, Matthews said, shortly after donning the jersey Maple Leafs. I think I can be a franchise player, a number one center in the NHL. This is my ultimate goal. ”
Matthews spent last season in Switzerland, totaling 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games with the Zurich team, the best team in the Swiss League.
Expectations will be high towards the young sensation in Toronto. The team did not win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 50 years and it is a realistic possibility for the player of 18 years, which is the first player Leafs get drafted in the first step since Wendel Clark in 1985.
Peter Ihnacak holds the team record for points in a season (66) by a rookie, even if he did at the age of 25 years during the 1982-1983 season.
“Obviously, we have improved, said head coach Mike Babcock after selecting Matthews. It is an elite player with a big rig that makes others better. It will be a leading center in the National League. ”
Matthews is the first American to hear his name at the forefront since Patrick Kane in 2007. It should, unless a huge surprise, drill training Leafs next year.
Product Minor Hockey Arizona, Matthews seems to have the size – six-foot-two and 200 pounds – the speed, skill and intelligence to become a major player, a prerequisite for most winning teams of the Stanley cup.
Second, the Winnipeg Jets chose the Finn Patrik Laine, a six-foot-three inches and 201 pounds. The latter was named MVP of the series in the best Finnish league, the SM-Liiga. He tallied 17 goals and 16 assists in 46 games last season.
The Blue Jackets were subsequently caused some surprise by selecting Quebecer Pierre-Luc Dubois, that many do not see being drafted before the fifth grade, third.
The Edmonton Oilers have subsequently selected another striker in fourth. Finland Jesse Puljujarvi therefore join Connor McDavid and company, who has amassed 13 goals and 15 assists in 50 games in the SM-Liiga.
The Vancouver Canucks have followed the example of their Canadian rivals repêchant another Finn, Olli Juolevi, fifth. The defender, who played with the London Knights, concluded the season with a plus-38.
Teammate Juolevi, Matthew Tkachuk, then donned the jersey of the Calgary Flames and the Arizona Coyotes have set their sights on Clayton Keller seventh.
Alexander Nylander, by the Buffalo Sabres, Mikhail Sergachev by the Montreal Canadiens, and Tyson Jost, by the Colorado Avalanche, completed the top-10.
The attacker of the Val-d’Or Foreurs, Julien Gauthier, Quebec was the second player and the second player of the QMJHL to hear his name in the first round. The Carolina Hurricanes drafted him 21st level.