2016 draft eligible hockey phenom Auston Matthews opted to take a different route in his final pre-draft season of development, departing for Switzerland’s Swiss-A hockey league and going pro with Zurich ZSC Lions for the 2015-2016 campaign.
So far, it’s proven to be a good decision; the 18 year old forward (who was held out of the team’s first few games for age limitations, as he’s only 18 as of late this September) has put up an impressive 10 goals and 17 points over just 14 games with the club. He even sits second in scoring on the team’s roster, despite missing those early games for his age — and despite missing another handful of games for an upper body injury, to boot.
Missing games for injury in a player’s final pre-draft season is never what they hope for, though — so seeing that Matthews is hopefully going to be healthy and cleared to play by this upcoming Wednesday is fantastic news.
Reported by Mike Morreale of NHL.com, Matthews has missed the past four games with the Lions (although he’s been practicing with the club still) – but Morreale suggests he’s targeting a return to the team’s lineup in time for their contest on Wednesday against Ambri-Piotta in the Swiss Ice Hockey Cup. Morreale reports that the projected return date comes straight from the source; via a text to the NHL.com writer, Matthews confirmed that he is ‘feeling better’ and that November 25th is the plan for both himself and the club.
The injury itself was likely sustained on October 23rd; Matthews played in one final game with the club before they shut him down for the four-game absence he’s had to recover. Despite now being eight games back of the rest of his club, though, the youth is still the league leader in goals.
With Matthews likely healthy by next week, hockey fans in Europe (and those who have been following him overseas in North America and elsewhere) can now hopefully watch him continue to push for shattered records and excellent play. Beyond that, though, the Scottsdale, Arizona native has more to offer hockey fans from the United States in particular; with the 2016 U20 World Junior Championships right around the corner, a healthy Auston Matthews is a huge add for the USA roster if he’s able to get the time off.