Austin Watson Profile
Austin WatsonHt/Wt: 6' 3"/180 lbs
Team: Peterborough (OHL)
Austin Watson's Player ProfileIf you want to understand why Austin Watson will be drafted in the first round of the NHL draft, just look at his season. 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.
Watson’s tenacity has been likened to Kris Draper. However, that comparison negates an aspect of Watson that must be mentioned: he is listed at 6’3 ¼” 185lbs. All of Watson’s strengths as a player will be enhanced just through the process of physically maturing. He is a quick skater with the ability to change directions. Watson also stays on the puck with his ability to stop and start and never quits a battle when engaged. Having said that, Watson does have a short stride as his shifts lengthen and he tires. Simply adding strength and power to his lower body will allow Watson to become even quicker. Watson seems to excel on the boards and thrives in that area of the ice. Again, as he grows, you can envision him winning more battles on the boards and in the corners. Watson goes to the net with a purpose on both sides of the puck. Offensively, he likes to screen and look for the dirty goals as well as draw defenseman to allow the puck carrier and third forward more time and space. He has a good set of hands and is able to direct pucks on net. Defensively, you can count on Watson to patrol the front of the net and provide support on loose pucks in the corner as well as block shots. He looks like the type of player who puts team success before his own. His acceptance and execution of his role on the US squad is further evidence.
Watson doesn’t have many glaring weaknesses. As stated, once he gets bigger and stronger, his physical two way play will improve. Time and conditioning will take care of that. Watson’s value as a top half first round selection hinges on his ability to take his offensive game to a higher level. He appears to be in a good situation with the Pete’s for that to happen in that he will be surrounded by talented teammates such as Ryan Spooner and Matt Puempel next year. If he can develop into a 50 – 60 point NHLer while leading the PK and providing great two way play, Watson will be well worth a top 15 pick.
Pros: Versatile, dedicated two way player, high-energy
Cons: More development of offensive skills
Skillset comparison: Ryan Kesler
Submitted by: Rich Michalowski of TheScoutingReport.org
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Austin Watson Draft Profile
Austin Watson goal vs Oshawa
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