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Auston Matthews  

NHL Center and Alternate Captain for the Toronto Maple Leafs

Auston Matthews is the NHL's Sun Belt growth come to spectacular life. Who would have thought a decade or so ago that a player raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, would be the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft -- and a potential franchise player for the Toronto Maple Leafs after scoring 158 goals before his 23rd birthday?

Matthews was the first United States-born player to be chosen No. 1 since the Chicago Blackhawks took Patrick Kane with the first pick in the 2007 NHL Draft. While growing up, he idolized players such Shane Doan and Daniel Briere, members of the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes, a franchise that relocated in 1996 from Winnipeg. Matthews was an all-around athlete who chose to focus on hockey as an adolescent, and he excelled at every level of the game on his unique path to the NHL.

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