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LIVE FROM LA: What everyone’s saying about Watson…

In an effort to know more about the newest Nashville Predator, we’ve compiled some quotes about the 18-year old Austin Watson. You’ll probably be seeing a lot of him in the next couple weeks as the Preds will hold their annual Development Camp soon. And, if the standard holds, you’ll get to see him in training camp for a while before he’s shipped back to Peterborough of the Ontario Hockey League for another year of junior.

So, without further ado, we present to you, Mr. Austin Watson.

THE HOCKEY NEWS (draft publication)
Faced with the chance to win another Memorial Cup or make his own name somewhere else, Austin Watson chose the latter. And while he (didn’t get to skate) with the trophy this spring, his decision to waive his no-trade clause for a deal from Windsor to Peterborough for Zack Kassian has resulted in his stock skyrocketing.

McKEEN’S HOCKEY (draft publication)
A mid-season trade from Windsor to Peterborough helped Watson’s stock as he racked up 20 points in his final 10 games, however, it was more his defensive diligence that got him noticed. Watson flourished in the Petes’ system and became so renowned for his shot blocking that teams were adjusting their power play to avoid him.
RATED #19 (draft publication)
The first thing that sticks out about Watson is his size. He is huge at 6’3″ and should be able to add plenty of muscle to his frame. Despite his size, Watson is (actually) a good skater and doesn’t look like a lumbering big man out on the ice. What Watson brings to the ice is a mature three-zone game. He is a complete player and does what he needs to do to try and win games.

RED LINE REPORT (at the CHL Prospects Game)
Had as strong a two-way game as anyone here. Big, raw and gangly but brings an excellent work ethic to every shift. Responsible play in all three zones. Was strong on the puck especially in forecheck situations.

For most of the year, he was a point per game player with the Windsor Spitfires and Peterborough Petes of the OHL. Then in April, he filled a valuable role as a grinding, checking forward on the USA’s Gold Medal team at the U-18 Championships. Watson’s versatility and ability to contribute offensively and defensively will be coveted by teams on draft day.

While he was lost among the big-name stars in Windsor, Watson seemed to thrive in Peterborough. He averaged two points per game – albeit in just 10 games – and his effort throughout the season impressed scouts. Watson is one of those players who will do what is asked. He was asked to play on the fourth line at times in Windsor. He did it. He became the star player for the Petes as they made a run to the OHL playoffs. He handled that superbly.

Austin is a very good penalty killer. He plays a high-energy two-way game. He’s aggressive on the forecheck and he will finish his checks. He has good hands and can shoot the puck hard. He is an excellent competitor and is a good shot blocker. I like his energy and willingness to play a role and be good at that role.
Watson is two-way talent who is not afraid to sacrifice his body to make a play.  he is a heart-and-soul forward that any NHL team would love to have on the roster.  Watson isn’t just a plugger, though, as he has some offensive skill in his arsenal.

What a great two-way forward he is. Excellent skater, Watson isn’t shy about playing a rough game. Can score in bunches. Waived his no-trade clause to go from power-packed Windsor Spitfires to join Peterborough, where he flourished. Broke his foot blocking a Brandon Gormley slapshot at the Top Prospects game, which hurt his numbers this year but next season in the OHL expect him to tear it up.

To read what other Nashville media members have said about the pick, please click on their respective links below.
The Tennessean
The Examiner
On The Forecheck
Preds On The Glass