In Part 3 of a 5-part series, we look at another target for the Ottawa Senators in this year’s upcoming NHL Entry Draft. Bryan Murray and co. have the 16th overall pick this year, and look to add a blue-chip prospect. We’ve already looked at two centre men, Emerson Etem and Mikael Granlund. Now, it’s time to look at another one, and this guy could be “the one”.
Ann Arbor, Michigan has been a hockey hotbed for past years. Not only is it home to the local Michigan Wolverines, but it also is home to the most prestigious United States Hockey League Team, the US National Development Team. Usually, players from the town go through the NCAA and into the NHL. Instead, this American kid decided to go up north to the Ontario Hockey League, in hopes of being noticed more. Austin Watson had the guts to move from his family when he was 14, to Windsor. Now that tells something.
Watson has since been recognized by scouts across the NHL as a premier prospect in this year’s draft. According to Jake Lowell, a scout for the Calgary Flames, “We really like the fact that Austin is as hard-working you can get. His shot is something we only can dream about, and he’s already NHL-primed”. Personally, all of that sounds great, except the fact about the Flames liking him.
We all have realized Austin Watson has a great shot. Like a sniper, they would say. But, the kid’s not a sniper himself. #61 is also a guy who can shift from his natural position of centre, to the wing, as the Sens have done with Nick Foligno, sometimes with Mike Fisher, and looking to do with Jim O’Brien. The question I have, though is, “Isn’t this guy a rich man’s Mike Fisher?”. Well yes, but you must remember Mike Fisher was nurtured during the John Muckler era. Bryan Murray does things differently here in Bytown. He and his trainers will absolutely do their best to develop Watson, because you can’t get another shot at this.
One other thing I like about Austin are his stats. His first team, the Windsor Spitfires, are bloated with talent such as world-famous Taylor Hall. He gets traded to the Peterborough Petes, and he’s a leader on the team, even extending their series to 7 in the playoffs when down 3-0.
It also doesn’t hurt that he’s a champion, as well.
Don’t miss the last two parts of this series. There will be a surprise at the end, and you won’t want to miss who a “wildcard” may be.