NHL Button: Matthews the clear favourite to go No. 1 in 2016 Draft:
If you haven't heard about Auston Matthews, you will.
The 17-year-old centre from Scottsdale, Arizona, misses the 2015 NHL Draft by two days. He was born Sept. 17, 1997 – 48 hours after the eligibility deadline. He is the clear favourite to go No. 1 in the 2016 Draft.
Were he available for next June's draft in Sunrise, Florida, he would – in my view - be considered in the same category as Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.
Matthews rocketed to stardom in 2013-14 with 24 goals in 44 games split between the USA U-17 (12-21-33 in 24 games) and U-18 (12-5-17 in 20 games) national teams.
Watching Matthews, I see a player capable of impacting the game in multiple ways. The 6-foot-1, 194-pounder is an excellent skater who can beat opponents with speed or quickness and is capable of executing plays at high speed. His passing skills are precise and he has the ability to score off the rush, off the cycle, from a distance, from in close. He has the intelligence of high-end players and exudes an uncommon confidence. He swats away obstacles as though they are merely irritating flies.
Matthews' emergence gives new meaning to the term "hockey hotbed". He is the first bonafide star from Scottsdale – one of the most desirable winter getaways in North America.
NHL.com: Arizona starting to produce top-end hockey talent
On the horizon is elite prospect Auston Matthews, a 16-year-old scoring machine from Scottsdale who was the only 2016 NHL Draft prospect invited to attend a USA Hockey summer junior evaluation camp next month in Lake Placid, N.Y. Sean Burke said Matthews has a chance to be the first Arizona-born and -raised player picked in the top 50 pick at the NHL draft.
"Auston is very impressive," Burke said. "He's already a guy you can see going in the second or third round and he's got two years to go."
According to USA Hockey, Arizona has the third-highest growth in the country when it comes to expanding youth hockey and the highest among states with an NHL team. Though the number of NHL players who have retired in the area certainly helps the cache, the sport is learning to walk on its own.
"It's exciting to be part of that wave of Arizona players making that next step," Brendan Burke said. "I remember being on this same ice at 13 or 14 and dreaming one day you could play for the Coyotes. And now you're out there with the sweater on with guys like Henrik and Zac, and you know the dream is that much closer.
Hockey2, LLC Bobcat Alumni Auston Matthews Featured As Possible First Overall NHL 2016 Pick in Providence Journal:
"Next up? Arizona, where the Coyotes relocated in 1996.
One of the stars of Granato’s team, strapping center Auston Matthews of Scottsdale, Ariz., could be the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
“He’s an electrifying player,” Granato says.
Matthews — who set up a goal at PC on Thursday night and had two goals and an assist at Boston University on Saturday — told me on Thursday that he became interested in hockey after his uncle, a Coyotes season ticket-holder, started taking him and his father to games when he was two or three years old. He put on skates for the first time a couple of years later. Now, NHL scouts and college recruiters are raving about him...." To read more of this interesting articleclick here...
Online Feature: Hockey's Resource: ARIZONA BOBCATS U16 TEAM COMPLETES IMPRESSIVE WEEKEND AT NAPHL SHOWCASE
The second North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) Showcase of the season in Romeoville, IL has wrapped up and saw the Arizona Bobcats U16 team add to their strong start to the season.
The Bobcats finished the 5 game weekend showcase with a 4-1 record that included wins over the Lansing Capitals, Pikes Peak Miners, California Titans and San Jose Jr Sharks.
Their performance lifted the Bobcats into 3rd place in the NAPHL standings with a strong 8-2 record with their lone loss on the weekend coming to the second place Anaheim Jr Ducks.
Leading the way for the Bobcats was Scottsdale’s Jonas Edwards who racked up 6 points on the weekend that included 4 goals and 2 assists. Edwards’ scoring output now places him third on the team in overall scoring with 8 points in 10 games.
The Bobcats will look to avenge their loss to the Ducks when they face off against Anaheim in the first game of the next showcase on December 5th in Blaine, MN. ...
Online Feature: Hockey's Resource: ARIZONA BOBCATS U16 AND U18 TEAMS PREPARE FOR A STRONG SEASON IN THE NAPHL
"The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) will kick off their season September 18th with their first showcase event in Blaine, MN and feature both the U16 and U18 Arizona Bobcats.
The NAPHL profiled both Bobcat teams recently and got the thoughts of their head coaches in advance of the season.
U16 Head Coach Pat Mahan is excited about his team and his first year coaching in the NAPHL. He believes they are positioned well for a strong season and will be looking to his returning veteran players to lead the way for a mix of younger players also suiting up for the Bobcats this season. Players like Trey Porter, Jared Sanchez, Sean Dickson and Dylan Dix are all expected to fill Mahan’s leadership roles..."
I"n addition to Mahan’s U16 group, the U18 Bobcats have utilized a strong off-season program to prepare a young team for the challenges ahead in NAPHL and beyond. Head Coach Todd Collins, a veteran of multiple NAPHL seasons, is also a scout for the Minot Minotauro’s of the NAHL.
Collins is excited to start league play and help get his players ready for opportunities to play at the next level. He is confident that the NAPHL is the best avenue to provide this opportunity..."
ASU Sun Devils Stay on Top with Local AZ Players Drawing Attention:
Click here to read more about this interesting article in this month's USA Hockey Magazine...
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