September 17, 1997 (26)
Auston Matthews is an American professional ice hockey player, distinguished for his role as the center for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL). With his stellar performance, Matthews quickly became a vital part of the NHL landscape, his presence on the ice shaping the course of countless games and establishing his name among the greats of the sport.
Matthews’ journey into professional hockey took a unique trajectory. Instead of playing college hockey or entering the junior leagues in Canada, he opted to play professional hockey in Switzerland’s top-tier league, the National League (NL), for ZSC Lions. It was in the 2015-2016 season that Matthews first caught the global attention of ice hockey enthusiasts. Despite being sidelined by an injury for a portion of the season, he scored an impressive 24 goals and 22 assists in just 36 games, demonstrating his knack for the sport. He would later make a notable entrance into the NHL, being drafted first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
In his career, Matthews has shared the rink with some of the most talented players in the NHL, both on his team and against. His collaborations with fellow Toronto Maple Leafs’ stars like John Tavares, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander have resulted in some remarkable performances. Additionally, his encounters with other hockey greats such as Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, or Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals have produced some of the most exhilarating matchups in recent NHL history. Internationally, playing for Team North America in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, he teamed up with other young stars like Nathan MacKinnon and Johnny Gaudreau, providing spectators with unforgettable moments.
Matthews’ exceptional play has not gone unnoticed by the NHL and its fans. In his debut season in the NHL, Matthews was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie. Since then, he has been named an NHL All-Star multiple times, solidifying his position among the elite players of the sport. Notably, in the 2020-2021 season, Matthews won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer.