Auston Matthews preps for NHL Combine, Draft

Posted at 10:46 PM, Jun 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-05 08:35:39-04

A year ago, the hockey world descended upon the Queen City to get a look at Connor McDavid and the Sabres 2nd overall pick, Jack Eichel ahead of the NHL Draft.  This year, all the attention is on Auston Matthews.

The American born skater likely to be the face of the Sabres division rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who could select him with the No. 1 overall pick in three weeks.

He interviewed with teams including the Leafs in downtown Buffalo throughout the week, but on Saturday he'll be put through the grinder during the physical testing portion of the NHL Combine.

If he is selected by Toronto that would set up quite the hockey showdown and division rivalry with Eichel for the next few years.

“If that were to happen, that’d be awesome,” Matthews said. “He’s a great player and I’ve played against him once before. It’d be pretty cool.”

The Arizona native also told reporters on Friday seeing how McDavid and Eichel handled the draft frenzy a year ago has helped him prepare. He also said he sought the advice of the Sabres rising star.

"Just the way they blocked out all the pressure, especially those two, they were really under the microscope since they were playing in North America and with all the media surrounding them,” he said. “In just talking with Jack, he kept his world small and did the little things, and worked as hard as he can.”

The NHL Draft begins June 24 at First Niagara Center.