Austin Watson has been recalled by Preds…

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According to Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus, the Nashville Predators have recalled 2010 first round pick Austin Watson.

Watson is set to make his NHL debut tonight in Chicago as Mike Fisher sits out with an injury.

Watson, 21, leads the Milwaukee Admirals in goals (20) and shots on goal (155). He’s also tied for second on the team in scoring (36 points) and is tied for the team lead in power play goals (5).

With Watson’s recall, Taylor Beck and Chris Mueller already being in Nashville due to injuries and Michael Latta having been traded to the Washington Capitals in the Martin Erat deal, the Admirals are without their top four scorers of the 2012-13 campaign. Finnish prospect Jusso Puustinen is the leading scorer on their active roster with 14 goals and 28 points.

According to Sports Club Stats, the Predators have just a 2.6% chance of getting into the post season for the eighth time in nine years. Add that to the fact that many believe Watson will make the big club out of camp next year, and this recall could very well be an audition of sorts (as long as Fisher is on the shelf, anyway). After all, you can tell a lot more about a prospect when he’s going up against NHL competition than you can in drills, scrimmages and the opposition’s pre-season roster.

Our good friend in Milwaukee, Ryan Miller, says that Watson is “not afraid to go to the net and not afraid to block shots. He’s usually on the ice in final minutes of close games.”

UPDATE (12:16pm Central): Per Kevin Wilson of Nashville’s Media Relations department, Watson will don #52 in his NHL debut tonight.

The official press release is below.

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Nashville, Tenn. (April 7, 2013) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has recalled forward Austin Watson from Milwaukee (AHL) under emergency conditions. Nashville’s first choice, 18th overall (first round), in the 2010 Entry Draft is expected to make his NHL debut tonight in Chicago.

Watson, 21 (1/13/92), leads the Admirals and ranks fifth among American Hockey League rookies in goals (20), in addition to ranking second on Milwaukee in points (36) in 2012-13. During a decorated junior career from 2008-12, the Ann Arbor, Mich., native won a pair of OHL titles (2009 and 2012) and a Memorial Cup (2009). With London a season ago, he was the recipient of the 2012 Wayne Gretzky 99 Award presented to playoff MVP, in addition to being named to the Memorial Cup tournament all-star team. The 6-3, 193-pound forward represented the United States at the 2012 World Junior Championships, leading the team in points (9) and assists (6).

The Predators face-off against the Blackhawks tonight at 6 p.m. CT in the Windy City for the second game of a back-to-back, home-and-home series (FSTN, 1675 HD, 28 SD, 102.5 FM The Game). The Predators return to Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday vs. the St. Louis Blues for a Twice Daily Super Tuesday, where fans will be able to purchase a pair of upper-level tickets for just $55 or a pair of lower level tickets for $105. Twice Daily will also offer a coupon for $5 off any Daily’s purchase, including gas. Limited tickets for all remaining home games are still available and may be purchased at the Bridgestone Arena Box Office, by visiting nashvillepredators.com or by calling 615-770-7800.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover // section303.com