WINDSOR, ON - JANUARY 20:  Austin Watson #61 of Team Cherry celebrates his goal during the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game against Team Orr on January 20, 2010 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Team Cherry defeated Team Orr 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Austin Watson attracted the eyes of scouts with an incredible performance at the Top Prospects game, but it was a performance that ended up costing him as well.  Watson broke his foot blocking a shot and ended up missing more than a month thanks to the injury.

 

Watson’s offence blossomed after he was dealt away from the stacked Windsor Spitfires; after putting up 11 goals and 34 points in 43 games with limited ice-time he got more of an opportunity in Peterborough – putting up nine goals and 20 points in just 10 games.  Despite the offensive output, Watson’s viewed as a versatile scorer whose true strengths lie elsewhere.  He stands 6’3” and is renowned as a two-way player who can handle big minutes on the penalty kill and generally lines up against the best the opposition has to offer.

 

Watson’s not a phenomenal skater, and he’s lanky, meaning that as with most prospects his age he needs to bulk up and add some strength.  Additionally, he’s not regarded as a natural scorer the way other players in the draft are, and it’s fair to ask if his Peterborough performance was an aberration or represented a true breakthrough.

 

the nice thing about Watson is that thanks to his versatility and his size, he’s a safe pick: even if his scoring touch doesn’t top out as high as it might, he could still end up with a nice long NHL career in a bottom-six role somewhere.

 

McKeen’s Rank: #19 - “Watson flourished in the Petes’ system and became so renowned for his shot blocking that teams were adjusting their power-play to avoid him.”

 

THN Rank: #15 – “‘He’s a bit of a hidden gem,’ another scout said.’He isn’t going to be the biggest scorer in the world, but he does good things in all three zones.’”

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