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Austin Watson
Austin Watson.jpg
Born January 13, 1992 (1992-01-13) (age 29)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight 204 lb (93 kg; 14 st 8 lb)
Position Center
Shoots Right
NHL team Nashville Predators
National team Flag of the United States.svg  United States
NHL Draft 18th overall, 2010
Nashville Predators
Playing career 2011–present

Austin Watson (born on January 13, 1992) is an American ice hockey centre who is currently playing for the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League (NHL).

He was selected 18th overall by the Predators in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Playing Career

Early career

Before the OHL, Austin played all of his early hockey with the Detroit Compuware Ambassadors, whose home arena is Compuware Arena. While playing for the Ambassadors, Watson received early exposure to OHL hockey, as Compuware Arena is also home to the Plymouth Whalers.

Junior hockey

At first, Austin did not show interest in the OHL and verbally committed to the University of Maine Black Bears, planning on playing for the US U-17 team. Because of his plans to play in college, although he was projected to go second overall in the OHL draft, he ended up going 36th overall.

Because the U-17 delayed on giving him a spot, he decided to forgo his verbal commitment to Maine and play with the Windsor Spitfires.

Windsor Spitfires

Although it was a gamble, the Spitfires took a chance and drafted Austin. Their bet paid off. He came into the OHL with a bang, surprising people with his fast skating and smart playing.

Despite the fact that he hit a slump mid-season, he came out with 10 goals and 19 assists, for a total of 29 points. During the playoffs after a total of 20 games played, he snatched up 3 more points in the form of assists.

While Austin had a remarkable rookie season, he accompanied the Spitfires to becoming the most elite in the league, the CHL Memorial Cup champions, at the same time breaking the record and becoming the first team to ever come back for an overall win from fourth place in the finals. Also, it was the first Spitfires franchise win of the Memorial Cup.

Peterborough Petes

On January 11, 2010, the Spitfires traded Watson to the Peterborough Petes. The trade was smart for him career-wise as he now receives a chance at more playing time on this younger team. Watson played in the 2010 CHL Top Prospects game for Team Cherry and played well, as he, among other things, broke up a 5-on-3 penalty kill even though unfortunately broke his ankle blocking a second shot and could not play for a month with the Petes.

While playing with the Spitfires, Austin was projected to go 25th according to the International Scouting Service (ISS) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but after an advantageous trade to the Petes, he jumped in rank 11 places and was ranked 14th in April, where the NHL Central Scouting Final Ranks place him. According to the ISS, he ranks 12th.

Watson was drafted 18th overall by the Nashville Predators. His entire family was there to support him: all eight siblings (including another one on the way).

London Knights

On January 9, 2012, Austin was traded to the London Knights.

Nashville Predators

Austin began playing for the Nashville Predators during the 2015-16 NHL season.

Career Statistics

Regular season and playoffs

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2008–09 Windsor Spitfires OHL 63 10 19 29 41 20 0 3 3 15
2009–10 Windsor Spitfires OHL 42 11 23 34 14
2009–10 Peterborough Petes OHL 10 9 11 20 8 4 2 0 2 2
2010–11 Peterborough Petes OHL 68 34 34 68 54
2010–11 Milwaukee Admirals AHL 5 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0
2011–12 Peterborough Petes OHL 32 14 19 33 33
2011–12 London Knights OHL 29 11 24 35 14 19 10 7 17 10
2012–13 Milwaukee Admirals AHL 72 20 17 37 22 4 1 0 1 0
2012–13 Nashville Predators NHL 6 1 0 1 0
2013–14 Milwaukee Admirals AHL 76 22 24 46 24 3 0 0 0 6
2014–15 Milwaukee Admirals AHL 76 26 18 44 34
2015–16 Nashville Predators NHL 57 3 7 10 32
NHL totals 63 4 7 11 32

International

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2010 United States WJC18 Template:Goca 7 2 1 3 33
2012 United States WJC 7th 6 3 6 9 0
Junior totals 13 5 7 12 33

International Play

Medal record
Ice hockey
Competitor for Flag of the United States.svg United States
IIHF World U18 Championship
Gold 2010 WJC U18

Austin was selected to play for the USA national team for the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

Despite the fact that the US did not win, he played well and tied the US record for the most points in a single game.

Austin was selected to play for the U.S. National team and played with them to win the gold medal ultimately, even though he was ejected from the game 5 minutes in for a boarding call.

Accolades

  • Wayne Gretzky 99 Award: OHL Playoff MVP (2011–12)
  • CHL Memorial Cup All-Star Team (2012)
  • Won the J. Ross Robertson Cup with the London Knights in 2012.
  • OHL Wayne Gretzky 99 Award 2012 Playoff MVP. 1st American to ever win it.
  • OHL Academic Player of the Month of the West Division for the month of December 2008.
  • Won the J. Ross Robertson Cup with the Windsor Spitfires in 2009.
  • Won the Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires in 2009.

Personal Life

Austin was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he grew up with his father and mother, Mike and Mary Watson. He is the oldest of ten children (nine boys and one girl).

He went to school one year at Detroit Catholic Central High School and one year at Father Gabriel Richard High School before he was drafted into the OHL where he attended St. Anne's High School & after being traded to Peterborough, completing high school there.

Austin played for the high school golf team at Father Gabriel Richard, where they went to state finals.

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