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Auston Matthews is an American professional ice hockey player for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL). Previously, Matthews played for the U.S. National U18 Team in the USHL. Widely thought about the top prospect of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Matthews was drafted first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs. In his NHL debut Matthews ended up being the first player in modern NHL history to score 4 goals in his NHL debut. He scored 40 goals in his first season, the second rookie since the 2004– 05 lockout to reach the turning point and the 4th teenager in league history to do so. In the midst of his rookie season, Matthews was ranked the second best active American player in the NHL. He was awarded the 2017 Calder Memorial Trophy as the top NHL rookie.
Born in San Ramon, California, Matthews and his household transferred to Scottsdale, Arizona when Matthews was a baby. He learnt how to play hockey in Arizona, developing an interest after watching the local Phoenix Coyotes play.
Worldwide, Matthews has represented the United States in various competitions consisting of a U17 WHC gold medal, 2 U18 WJC gold medals, and two IIHF World U20 Championship appearances.
In late June, Matthews was chosen first overall in the 2016 draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, ending up being the first American to be picked with the top choice since Patrick Kane in 2007. He had actually been commonly anticipated to go first overall for over a year leading up to the event, regularly topping prospect charts and significant scouting press reporters. Media speculation suggested that Matthews and the team had engaged in a minor contract dispute over the problem of performance bonuses; Matthews was asking the team for a contract just like that of Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, which were both valued at $3.775 million every year (with all bonuses factored in). Although Maple Leafs basic manager Lou Lamoriello has been very open over his disapproval of including bonuses in player contracts in the past, he was very clear in mentioning that performance rewards were never ever a problem while talking about Auston’s contract. It is extensively expected that first overall selections, as well as other highly touted early draft picks, get the maximum entry-level settlement under the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Lamoriello had actually previously been involved in a contract dispute while in New Jersey with 4th overall pick Adam Larsson over the concern of bonuses. Larsson came out of settlements without any performance rewards attached to his entry-level offer. On July 21, the two celebrations completed an offer, with Matthews inking a three-year entry-level contract, that included the optimum allocation of performance perks. Lamoriello would go on to state that the contract was agreed upon within 10 minutes of taking a seat with Matthews’ agent Pat Brisson, and that the deal was done “the Toronto method.” Brisson would later confirm that the two parties did not have any concerns settling the offer. The contract equaled in value to those McDavid and Eichel had actually secured a year earlier. 2 weeks later on, Matthews was provided the NLA Youngster of the Year award, which is reserved for the league’s top rookie. It would be his fifth award from his stint in Switzerland.
Matthews made his NHL debut in the Maple Leafs’ first game of the season on October 12, 2016, versus the Ottawa Senators. He scored 4 goals in the game, all versus Craig Anderson. This was the first time in modern-day NHL history a player scored four goals in his debut; formerly Joe Malone and Harry Hyland scored 5 goals each in their NHL debuts on December 19, 1917 (the first game in the history of the NHL). 4 others had actually scored 3 goals since then, though none had exceeded a hat trick since Matthews. Matthews’ jersey would go on sale following his debut, where it rapidly became the highest selling sweater in the league. 2 months later in the NHL Centennial Classic, Matthews scored the game-winning goal in overtime, securing a 5– 4 victory for the Maple Leafs. On March 28, 2017, Matthews scored his 35th goal of the season, beating Wendel Clark’s previous record for most goals in a season (34) by a Leafs’ rookie April 3 saw Matthews score his 39th goal and 67th point, breaking the franchise record for most points in a season as well as the record for most goals by an American born rookie. A couple of days later on he notched his 40th goal of the season, ending up being the second rookie since the 2004– 05 lockout to reach the turning point and only the fourth teenager in league history to do so. He would finish the year with 40 goals, sufficient for second most in the league. Matthews’ play assisted the Maple Leafs in making the playoffs for the very first time in a full season since 2004, where the team took on the front runner Washington Capitals in the first round. After going pointless in the first 2 games of the series, Matthews scored in each of the last four games as the team was gotten rid of in six contests by the Capitals. His four consecutive games with a goal marked the first time since 1986 where a teenager scored in four straight playoff games, with Maple Leafs alumnus Wendel Clark being the only other player in league history to accomplish the accomplishment. In acknowledgment for his historical achievements throughout the year, Matthews was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy, as the league’s leading rookie, with 164 of 167 first-place votes.