Auston Matthews and Jack Hughes are the two most recent American players to be selected first overall in the NHL Entry Draft. They’ve developed into stars in the league since and were both selected to be All-Stars this season in Las Vegas.
When asked who they most wanted to mix it up with at the All-Star festivities, both gave Washington Capitals players as their answers.
For Matthews? Evgeny Kuznetsov. For Hughes? Tom Wilson.
“I’m really excited to meet and kinda get to know Kuznetsov,” Matthews told reporters. “I remember watching him at the World Juniors when he was playing and I was pretty young. He was a lot of fun to watch then and then ever since he’s been in the NHL he’s just a sneaky guy that does a lot of really impressive stuff out there and he’s fun to watch. I heard he’s a pretty big stick guy so I’m excited to maybe chat sticks with him too.”
Kuznetsov has a storied history at the World Juniors, winning gold and silver with Russia. He was also chosen as a First Team All-Star in both 2011 and 2012 as well as the Best Forward and Most Valuable Player in 2012. Matthews would have been 14-years-old watching him tear it up.
Matthews also references Kuznetsov’s reputation as being a “stick guy”. Kuzy once practiced with and later scored with Bauer’s Nexus ADV in 2020, a revolutionary stick that has a hole in its blade. He also famously took one of Zdeno Chara’s gigantic sticks for a twirl during a practice in early 2021.
Hughes would not be outdone by Matthews, telling the New York Post’s Mollie Walker, “Honestly it’d be pretty fun to play with Tom Wilson. I know he’s a late add, but it would be fun to get to know him and play with him. I’m pretty excited about that.”
Both Wilson and Hughes are playing in their first career All-Star Game this season. Hughes was the youngest player selected as he does not turn 21-years-old until May 14.
“That’s awesome,” Wilson said in reply. “It’s pretty cool, he’s such a fun kid to watch out there. He’s got a ton of skill. Obviously, that’s pretty nice of him to say.”
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk/RMNB
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