Why Watson?

This morning I got this tweet from fellow hockey blogger Cellblock303:

screen-capture-1Let me back the train to the station and preface why he’s posing the question in the first place. Last night in Anaheim, Hornqvist was at the butt-end of a couple injury-causing scenarios. He first took a Victory Bartley-esque slap shot to the leg (ouch), and then he was on the bottom of a Anaheim pile-up and had his knee gumbied into the wrong direction (ouch again). Needless to say, that was all we saw of Mr. Hornqvist for the night and now reports from Nashville state he is out indefinitely.

Before I give you some seasons as to who i think a good call up would be, let me interject with a video I found on the ol’ youtube whilst looking for a clip from last night’s game. It’s Admirals newcomer Brad Winchester unleashing the fury on Hornqvist during the Ducks vs. Predators game in Nashville back in March of 2011.

Let’s go back to the tweet. Who would be my pick for a call up?

download

<- This guy

(Austin Watson)

Instead of giving you a novel-length explanation as to why I think he’d be a good call-up, I’m going to break it up into some talking points. I’d like to hear everyone’s thoughts on my choice and I’m interested in seeing who everybody else would pick.

  • He ranked 14th in scoring for AHL rookies.
  • He’s got the size (6’3, 202 lbs) and isn’t afraid to use it when it comes to the big hits.
  • He is always counted on to do the gritty work, specifically when it comes to blocking shots.
  • He has been mixed with different lines on a game-by-game basis, and he adapts almost effortlessly. I like him paired with Puustinen, but I also liked seeing him on the same line as Brad Winchester on Friday night. He’s versatile. I like that.

I’m ready to see what this first-rounder can do at the NHL level. Might it be a little premature? Maybe, but I certainly think he’d surprise people if given the chance. Patric Hornqvist has the grit I see in Watson, and Watson’s ability to shut down the oppositions scoring chances could make for a surprisingly good transition into the NHL.

So now it’s your turn. The Predators will certainly take a hit on the stat sheet because of Hornqvist’s injury status, but Watson could surprise Nashville brass with how well-rounded of a forward he really is. What do you think?

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6 responses to “Why Watson?

  1. Do not rush Watson. Craig Smith was rushed and now he is stuck in the NHL because they can’t send him down to Milwaukee without exposing him to waivers. So he plays 4 minutes a game, is playing like he is terrified of making a mistake (so he makes 4 of them) and sits on the bench. He’s not developing playing 4 minutes a game. Watson is 20 years old. Let him develop and pay some dues.

  2. Oh, I voted for Mueller, by the way. He scored last night in overtime for the Ads. Seems the Predators could use an overtime goal or two.

    • Definitely understand everybody on the opinions that he needs to develop, and as Ryan put it, we don’t need a Craig Smith situation on our hands. But I just feel like this may be an interesting opportunity to send him up. See what he can do. With such a compacted schedule, I think he’d get more opportunity than during a normal NHL season. Doesn’t work out? Mueller is more than ready to fill the spot. Ryan Miller made some interesting points that maybe a center isn’t what they need now, but again, this was just my thoughts on the situation.

  3. also – it is of note that Watson is a rookie on an entry level contract and so he wouldn’t need to clear waivers. He could just be sent back down if he doesn’t pan out. Just a thought.

  4. 1) He’s not Craig Smith. How much time did Smith spend in MKE?
    2) If you follow his career (CHL, USA etc) he has gotten passed over early but when given the chance to “play” he has always surprised.
    3. 48 game season. Send him up. See what he does in 2 weeks to a month. If he struggles send him back and maybe he will be even more driven when he returns.

  5. HockeyFansHateLockouts

    Watson is ready. He is always a scoring threat, plays well with others (gets assists) and will block shots whenever he can. Offense and defense – what are the Preds waiting for?

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