Auston Matthews to play for Team USA at World Championships

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(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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Auston Matthews will play for Team USA in the upcoming IIHF World Championships in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.

Matthews is the first player named by Team USA to their World Championship roster. The tournament is slated for May 6-22.

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Last season Jack Eichel played for Team USA at the World Championships – though he hadn’t been drafted yet. Eichel was eventually selected by the Buffalo Sabres with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. 

Matthews, who is from Scottsdale, Arizona is considered the consensus top prospect for the 2016 NHL Draft. He just completed his season in Switzerland with the ZSC Lions where he had 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games. That was the National League A's fourth-best points per game average (1.28). 

Can he be a difference maker for Team USA? Matthews’ skill-set has drawn comparisons to Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Chicago Blackhawks pivot Jonathan Toews. Team USA has won a bronze medal twice in the last three years. Last year, Eichel had two goals and five assists.

By the World Championships, Matthews will likely have a sense of which NHL team will have the right to pick him No. 1 overall. The NHL Draft Lottery is slated for April 30.

Currently the bottom five teams in the NHL from a points perspective are the Columbus Blue Jackets, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Click here if you want to test your luck with a draft lottery simulator and see where Matthews will likely play next season.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!