Auston Matthews’ season is over after his No. 1 seed ZSC Lions were upset by the No. 8 seed SC Bern in the Swiss league playoffs on Thursday.
Now we wait and wonder when we’ll see the 18-year-old center on the ice again. At the World Championships in May? Competing for Team North America at the World Cup in September? In an Edmonton Oilers/Toronto Maple Leafs/Winnipeg Jets jersey come training camp?
After making the decision to play in Europe during his draft year, Matthews excelled with Marc Crawford as his coach. He finished tied for seventh in scoring with 24 goals and 46 points in only 36 games. That was the National League A's fourth-best points per game average (1.28).
Should he be invited, Matthews would make a great addition to the U.S. squad at the World Championships. He'd also add even more excitement should he end up picked for the Team North America squad at the World Cup in September.
Last week, after Team North America revealed its first 16 players, Matthews was not on the initial roster. The final seven players must be named by June 1, so the Worlds could serve as a great audition for him should USA Hockey hand him an invite.
It will be a competitive battle to claim one of the final spots on the Young Guns side. When the initial rosters were announced last week co-general manager Peter Chiarelli did say Matthews was in consideration.
“He’s got some obstacles just because he hasn’t played in the league," Chiarelli said. "That may sound unfair, the kid’s a talent. He has the strength, and he’s got the skill and the speed, we haven’t ruled him out.”
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