The Hockey Spy’s 2010 NHL Entry Draft Preview – Austin Watson

Christopher Ralph is a sportswriter with a focus on hockey prospects, the entry draft, as well as occasional Flames coverage here at THW.

“Full Potential” Prospect Profile:

Please “Click Here” for “Notes Up Front” and the “Legend” for various topics covered below in my “Live Updated” NHL 2010 Draft Preview article.

Austin Watson (Click on name for up- to- date stats)

Austin Watson {Photo Credit: Puck Magnet - Flickr}

Place of birth: Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Ht: 6-3.25 Wt: 185
Shoots: R

Position: C/W
2009-10 Team: Peterborough Petes traded from Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

NHL Status: Draft Eligible 2010

Date of birth: January 13, 1992

One-Timer:

The burgeoning power forward is an intriguing mix of size, hockey sense and grit.

Last year he won a Memorial Cup as a rookie with the Windsor Spitfires. This year he struck gold with Team USA at the WJC-U18s in Belarus.

While 20 points in 10 games after his trade to the Petes gets scouts excited about his offensive potential, it’s his all around game that make him a valuable commodity. If you read on to find the players I compare him, you will find that Watson is that type of player winning teams need and cherish.

Austin has the potential to be one of the most complete in the draft. He is a fearless, determined and energetic versatile forward willing to fill whatever role his coach wants him to play. Score, kill penalties, block shots, drive the net, physical – Watson can do it all and is a relatively safe pick with, dare I say, ridiculous upside.

Scout’s Honor:

“Watson’s performance at the Top Prospects game was bittersweet. It can be argued that he was the best player on the ice, but a blocked shot by Brandon Gormley – which may have saved the game – cost the Ann Arbour, Mich. native five weeks of action while healing a broken ankle.”

McKeens 2010 Draft Preview

“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.”

– NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards

“Austin is a big power forward that protects the puck very well all over the ice. He is a great shot blocker and penalty kill specialist. Austin also exhibits a great net front presence on the power-play and even strength and has a very good stick allowing him to create goals and scoring chances off redirections and tips. He also displays good leadership qualities for such a young player.”

Peterborough Petes head coach Ken McRae

Current Season:

2009-10:  The Michigan native ended up scoring better than a PPG clip with 54 points in 52 games, including 20 points in 10 games after a midseason trade from Windsor thay sent him to Peterborough. He added 2 goals in 4 playoff games.

Scouting Combine Performance:

  • 8th in Aerobic Fitness: VO2max (ml/kg/min)

International Tournaments:

  • Watson helped the US win gold at the World Under-18s in Belarus in 2010 contributing 2 goals and 1 assist in 7 games. He was one of only two players (Connor Brickley was the other) not originally from the USNTDP that were added to the roster.

ETA = 3 yrs

Risk-Reward Analysis: Risk = 1.5/5   Reward = 4/5

NHL Potential: Two-way All-Purpose Forward

Strengths:

*See “One Timer” section above.

Watson The Next "Mule"? {Johan Franzen - JYSharky - Flickr}

 

  • Size – great frame
  • Energetic
  • Versatile
  • Physical
  • Fearless
  • Defensive play – can kill penalties, block shots
  • Good hands
  • Scoring and playmaking upside
  • Very good shot
  • Leadership abilities
  • Outstanding work ethic

Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:

  • Continue to train to increase strength and add mass to great frame.
  • Watson skates fine, but could work on quickness.
  • One has to worry about the way he sacrifices his body blocking shots, but this is hardly a flaw.

Fantasy Hockey Potential: Offensive = 8/10   Defensive = 8.5/10

NHL Player(s) Comparison:

At his best: A blend of Johan Franzen and Jordan Staal

Video(s):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiL57qbNbyI

Interesting Notes:  (NHL.com)

“The eldest of nine children, Watson hopes to have the entire family at the Staples Center for the beginning of the next chapter in his hockey life.”

Other Rankings:

CSB: 14-NA

ISS: 12

TSN: 24 {Bob MacKenzie}

McKeens: 19

THN: 15

THW:  14  (June  ’10) {Christopher Ralph }

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