Spencer Watson THW Close-up:
Team: Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Birthdate: April 25, 1996
Hometown: London, Ontario
Height: 5’9″ Weight: 170 lbs
Position: Right Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2014, 1st year eligible
THW Ranking: #39
Craig Button (TSN) – #54
NHL Central Scouting (North American Skaters) – #59
The Scouting Bureau – #58
The talent level of Spencer Watson has never been in question. One of the most offensively talented players in the draft, Watson could be one of the top pure snipers available.
He possesses a fantastic wrist shot and very quick release. He also has a high hockey IQ and has a knack for finding an open spot to unleash a one-timer. He’s also an excellent skater with good agility and can be dangerous off the rush as well as in the offensive zone.
There are some knocks on him though, as he is rated to go outside the first round on draft day even with that skill set. Once projected to go in the top 30 picks, he has slipped from there, but much is to do with the emergence of other prospects as it is to do with Watson’s play.
Part of it is the size factor, at 5’9″ and 170lbs, he doesn’t possess the prototypical size NHL teams are looking for in a winger. He has a tendency to get knocked off the puck and lose some one on one battles because of it. Also, like many prospects his age, he lacks consistency defensively with that area of his game a work in progress.
With most of the attention going to his Kingston teammates Sam Bennett and Roland McKeown, Watson was a little more under the radar than they were, but is still a legitimate NHL prospect in his own right. Playing most of the year on a line with Bennett, Watson put up impressive numbers with 33 goals alongside he and Tampa Bay product Henri Ikonen.
Watson is a pure sniper who has a fantastic wrist shot, and outstanding release. He also has a very good one-timer. Watson has a high hockey IQ, he sees the play developing, and is able to slip into openings in the defence in order to get open for a shot. At just 5’10″ Watson is a little undersized but he is willing to go to the dirty areas to score goals and has the soft hands to bury rebounds and tip-ins close to the net. Watson’s playmaking game is underrated at this point because he’s such a great sniper, but the passing skills and vision are also there to be a very dangerous player both off the rush and in the zone. He’s willing to dig in corners, but he really needs to add more weight to his frame to be better at it. He needs to be a little more patient with the puck on his stick, he always seems to take the first option, whether it be a shot on goal, or a quick pass.
– Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports
Spencer Watson is one of the best natural goal scorers in this year’s draft class. He has an exceptional release and gets the puck off his stick in a hurry. His shot is both hard and accurate, which is a lethal combination. Watson is an excellent skater who reaches top speed in a hurry. He’s very creative with the puck in the offensive zone, and is an underrated puck distributor. Watson has very good hands and possesses the ability to beat defenders one-on-one with his deking ability if he doesn’t blow right by them with his speed. Though he has a small frame, he’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas, will crash the net and can find seams through traffic. He’s effective on the power play, but only five of his 33 goals were scored on the man advantage meaning he’s able to be effective at full strength. Though he’s undersized, he’s pretty relentless on the puck in the offensive zone and isn’t afraid of fighting with bigger opponents for possession.
– Todd Cordell, The Hockey Guys
Where He’ll Go in June:
Watson will likely go somewhere in the mid-to late 2nd round of the draft.
2013 – Canada (Ontario) – U17 World Hockey Challenge
2014 – Canada – U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Championship
Top six winger if he is able to add some muscle
- Wrist Shot
- Quick Release
- Hockey IQ
Flaws/Areas to Improve:
- Needs to add muscle
- Defensive consistency
- Offensive 8/10
- Defensive 6/10
- Jeff Skinner
- Carl Hagelin
Carl covers the Edmonton Oilers for THW as well as providing additional prospect coverage. Follow him on twitter @carlTHW, connect on Facebook or contact at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions, comments or if you’re interested in him writing for you.