One of the best Americans to ever play the game has some high praise for one of the most talented American players currently in the game.

Like most in the hockey world, Hall of Famer Mike Modano has been impressed by the play of Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews.

In fact, Modano already thinks the second-year player ranks among the best players in the league.

“If you go down the league, there’s a lot of great players nowadays,” Modano said, in an interview with Sporting News. “I would say he’s definitely in the top 20 as of now.”

As for the future? Modano thinks Matthews can go as high as No. 1 — at least as far as Americans are concerned.

“Over time he probably will evolve into not only the best American [but] give Patrick Kane a run and [lead] all the stats for American-born guys. On the whole, given the city he’s playing in, Toronto, being American, I just think it’s got a formula for a pretty exciting career.”

Now that’s saying something.

Not only did Modano’s illustrious career earn him a spot in the Hall of Fame, but he is also widely considered the best American player to ever play in the NHL. Over the course of 21 seasons from 1989-2011, Modano appeared in 1,499 games and racked up 561 goals and 813 assists for 1,374 points — the 24th most in NHL history.