USHL alumni Auston Matthews (Team USA) of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Johnny Gaudreau (Dubuque Fighting Saints) of the Calgary Flames were honored at the 2017 NHL Awards on Wednesday night. Matthews was the reciepient of the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie, and Gaudreau took home the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, given to the NHL player who exhibits sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct.
Matthews led all rookies and was second among all NHL players with 40 goals. He led all rookies with 69 points (40G, 29A), and both his goals and points totals set Maple Leafs rookie records. Matthews is the first USHL alum to win the Calder Trophy since Gary Suter (Dubuque Fighting Saints) did so in 1986 as a member of the Calgary Flames.
Matthews spent two seasons with Team USA (2013-15), playing in 44 USHL games and recording 68 points (30G, 38A) in those contests. He was named to the All-USHL Third Team following the 2014-15 season and was selected first overall by Toronto at the 2016 NHL Draft.
Gaudreau completed his third full season with Calgary in 2016-17, amassing 61 points (18G, 43A) in 72 games and leading the Flames in both assists and points. He only recorded four penalty minutes all season, and was named to the NHL All-Star Game for the third straight season. In 204 career NHL games, Gaudreau has tallied 204 points (73G, 131A) and just 38 penalty minutes. He is the first ever USHL alum to receive the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
Gaudreau was a member of the Dubuque Fighting Saints during the 2010-11 season, a year in which he helped the club capture the Clark Cup. In 60 games that season, he recorded 72 points (36G, 36A), won USHL Rookie of the Year and was named to both the USHL All-Rookie Team and All-USHL Second Team. Gaudreau then advanced to Boston College, where he tallied 175 points (78G, 97A) in 119 games, helped the Eagles capture the 2012 NCAA Hockey Championship, and won the 2014 Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey. He was selected by Calgary in the fourth round, 104th overall of the 2011 NHL Draft.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.