Austin Watson (born January 13, 1992) is an American professional ice hockey forward 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.
January 13, 1992|
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.
|Height||6 ft 4 in (193 cm)|
|Weight||204 lb (93 kg; 14 st 8 lb)|
|NHL team||Nashville Predators|
18th overall, 2010|
Austin Watson was born January 13, 1992, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he was raised by 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, and after being traded to Peterborough, finishing high school there. Watson played for the high school golf team at Father Gabriel Richard, where they went to state finals.
Watson verbally committed to the University of Maine Black Bears, planning on playing for the US U-17 team. Because of his plans to play 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, Watson decided to forgo his verbal commitment to Maine and play with the Windsor Spitfires.
Although it was a gamble, the Spitfires took a chance and drafted Watson. Their bet paid off, as Watson surprised people with his fast skating and smart play. Despite the fact that Watson hit a slump mid-season, he came out with 10 goals and 19 assists, for a total of 29 points. During playoffs, after a total of 20 games played, he snatched up 3 more points in the form of assists. While Watson 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.
On January 11, 2010, the Spitfires traded Watson to the Peterborough Petes. The trade was to his benefit, as he received 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, though he unfortunately broke his ankle blocking a second shot and missed a month with the Petes.
While playing with the Spitfires, Watson 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 to 14th in April, where the NHL Central Scouting Final Ranks placed him. According to the ISS, he ranked 12th. Watson was drafted 18th overall by the Nashville Predators.
On January 9, 2012, Watson was traded to the London Knights.
Watson began playing professionally during the 2012-13 AHL season, where he scored 37 points in 72 games for the Milwaukee Admirals. He also appeared in 6 games for the Predators, where he scored his first career NHL goal on April 23, 2013.
Watson became a regular in the Predators lineup during the 2015-16 NHL season, suiting up in 57 games. The following year, he skated in 77 games, scoring 17 points. He also recorded 4 goals and 9 points in 22 playoffs games, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history. The Predators ultimately fell in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
On July 24, 2017, the Predators re-signed Watson to a three-year, $3.3 million contract worth $1.1 million annually.
On January 29, 2019, Watson was suspended indefinitely after an alcohol related relapse.
|Representing United States|
|IIHF World U18 Championship|
|2010 WJC U18|
Watson was selected to play for the USA national under-18 select team for the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Despite the fact that the US did not win, he played well, tying the US record for most points in a single game.
Watson was selected to play for the US national team at the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships. Though the US team ultimately won the gold medal, Watson was ejected from the championship game 5 minutes in for a boarding call.
Domestic assault chargeEdit
On June 16, 2018, Watson was arrested in Franklin, Tennessee, on a misdemeanour charge of domestic assault. According to the police report, an officer was flagged down after a witness reported seeing Watson "swat" his girlfriend, Jenn Guardino, and prevent her from leaving the couple's SUV at a gas station. According to the police report, at the time of the incident Watson and Guardino were arguing about her drinking and not being able to attend a wedding. Watson admitted to pushing Guardino and the officer noted red marks on her chest. Guardino denied that Watson had touched her, but later changed her statement and told police that he was responsible for the marks on her chest. Guardino told police that Watson at times "gets handsy" and pleaded with officers not to press charges, fearing damage to his NHL career. The specifics of the "gets handsy" statement were not clarified in the police report. Watson was subsequently charged with suspicion of domestic assault. The police report noted that Guardino became "extremely upset" when Watson was taken into custody.
On July 24, 2018, Watson pleaded no contest to the domestic assault charge. He was sentenced to one-year probation and ordered to complete a 26-week batterer intervention course. Violating his probation could earn Watson up to a year in jail time. As a result of his charge, Watson was suspended by the NHL from all 2018–19 preseason games and 27 regular season games. After appealing his suspension to an independent arbitrator, Watson's suspension was reduced to 18 games.
On October 13, 2018, Guardino issued a statement in which she took full blame for the June 16 incident, claiming that it was not an act of domestic violence and that Watson would never hit or abuse her. She attributed the incident entirely to her own drinking problem. In the public statement, Guardino apologized to everyone involved, including the Predators and the city of Nashville, and thanked Watson for his support. The statement read in part:
My behaviour and state of intoxication lead to the police being involved that day. I have struggled with alcoholism for many years and I am actively involved in AA. I am fortunate to have Austin's continued support with my treatment. We handled matters poorly on June 16th and know that we need to make better decisions going forward.
Regular season and playoffsEdit
Awards and honorsEdit
|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.
- "Watson top Spits camp draft". The Windsor Star. Archived from the original on 2008-09-11.
- Jeff Arnold (Jul 4, 2010). "Austin Watson makes sacrifices to follow his hockey dreams from Ann Arbor to NHL". AnnArbor.com.
- "Spitfires fans play hooky to welcome hockey champions". The Windsor Star. Archived from the original on 2011-10-03.
- "high school box scores". The Ann Arbor News.
- "Pee-Wee players who have reached NHL or WHA" (PDF). Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. 2018. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-12-01. Retrieved 2009-11-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Mitchell, Spitfires Mem Cup Champions". NHL.com.
- "For Watson, the trade was elementary". myKwartha.com.
- "April ISS #12: Austin Watson". Anaheim Calling.
- "Draft Prospect Card – 2010". NHL.com.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-06. Retrieved 2012-01-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Vingan, Adam (24 July 2017). "Predators sign Austin Watson to 3-year contract". Tennessean. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
- "Austin Watson Suspended Two Games for Boarding". NHL.com. New York: Nashville Predators. 19 November 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
- "Predators' Austin Watson suspended indefinitely after alcohol-related relapse". Nashville. 29 January 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- "2009 USA Under-18 Select Team Roster". McKeen's Hockey Prospects. Archived from the original on 2011-07-15.
- "U18 Celebration Video". NTDP Blog.
- "Details emerge in Predators forward Austin Watson's domestic-assault case". CBSSports.com. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
- "Predators forward Austin Watson pleads no contest to domestic assault charge". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
- "Watson of Predators suspended 27 games by NHL". NHL.com. September 12, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
- "Watson's suspension reduced from 27 to 18 games". tsn.ca. October 11, 2018. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
- "Watson's girlfriend says June incident 'not an act of domestic violence'". TSN.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-13.
- Friedman, Elliotte (October 13, 2018). "Statement from Jenn Guardino...Austin Watson's girlfriend and mother of their daughter". Twitter.
- Memorial Cup All-Star Teams Archived 2016-01-07 at the Wayback Machine
- "OHL announces academic players of the month". OHL Official Website. Archived from the original on 2009-02-25.