NHL Draft's Presumptive Top Pick Showing Well at IIHF Worlds

Published on 20-May-2016 by J Square Humboldt

NHL    NHL Daily Update

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NHL Draft's Presumptive Top Pick Showing Well at IIHF Worlds

Approximately one month from now, Auston Matthews is gonna discover which team will make him a millionaire.

And 18-year-old millionaire, to be exact.

Not bad for a kid from the hockey hotbed of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Right now, though, dude's doing his bit at the IIHF Worlds in Russia to upset the Czechs and propelled Team USA into the semi-finals.

The Worlds play in Lord Stanley's shadow every spring.

They're a big deal in Europe, closely watched in Canada -- especially in a season when no club from the Great White North made the playoffs -- and drawing American attention only on special occasions.

Matthews joins a handful of elite talents who've played in both the IIHF World Juniors and the Worlds in the same year. That list includes Jonathan Toews and Igor Larionov, both of whom won championships in each.

The kid won't do that -- Finland won the 2016 Juniors -- but it's confirmation of the rarified air he's breathing.

Dude ditched both the NCAA and Major Junior because his birthday missed the 2015 NHL Draft cutoff date by 48 hours.

Looks like he made a good decision in going pro early. Among the advantages was playing under former NHL coach Marc Crawford, who was at the helm for Switzerland's Zurich Lions.

Who knew the Arizona Coyotes would be responsible for the NHL's next big thing?

Too bad their lottery chances this year were slim and none, and Slim left town.