BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Toronto Maple Leafs selected Arizona-born center Auston Matthews with the first pick in the NHL draft Friday night.
The 18-year-old from Scottsdale became the seventh American selected at No. 1, and first since the Chicago Blackhawks chose Patrick Kane with the top pick in 2007. Matthews grew up a Coyotes fan and spent last season playing professionally in Switzerland.
For Toronto, Matthews represents a significant addition in general manager Lou Lamoriello's bid to restore relevance to one of the league's most high-profile franchises. And he arrives at a time when the Maple Leafs usher in the 100th year of professional hockey being played in Canada's largest city.
NHL Central Scouting ranked Matthews its top draft-eligible prospect, ahead of Finnish-born forwards Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi.