Scottsdale native Matthews drafted first overall by Maple Leafs
As expected, the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Scottsdale native Auston Matthews with the top overall pick Friday night at the NHL Draft in Buffalo.
Matthews, a former Arizona Bobcats standout, was all smiles at the First Niagara Center.
“Well, I know everybody (in Toronto) is extremely passionate,” Matthews said. “They obviously love the Leafs. It’s a great sports town with the Blue Jays, the Raptors. They’re obviously very passionate, and it’s something you definitely don’t want to take for granted. Everybody has told me when they’re winning it’s the best place in the league. That’s definitely something that I’m looking forward to.”
Matthews was the seventh American selected first overall. Others include Patrick Kane (2007), Erik Johnson (2006), Rick DiPietro (2000), Bryan Berard (1995), Mike Modano (1988) and Brian Lawton (1983).
The 28 American players taken in the first three rounds ties the 2010 NHL Draft for second-most all-time. The record (29) was set at the 2007 draft.
Then in the fourth round (103rd overall), Phoenix native Todd Burgess was drafted by the Ottawa Senators.
“I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet,” said Burgess, a Jr. Coyotes alum. “It’s a dream come true and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of a great organization like Ottawa.”