Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News tweeted earlier that the Nashville Predators signed Austin Watson to an entry level contract today. It has now been confirmed by the Predators.
Watson's season with the Peterborough Petes concluded last week. After a slow start, he rallied to have 34 goals and 34 assists for a perfect point a game average in 68 games. According to David Poile, Watson will spend the balance of this season on an amateur tryout agreement in Milwaukee.
Here is a video of Watson from the Draft in Los Angeles last June, moments after his name was called.
Here is what David Poile had to say about drafting Watson in the opening round.
Here is the Predators' press release in its entirity...
Nashville Predators Sign 2010 First Rounder Austin Watson
Nashville, Tenn. (March 30, 2011) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed 2010 first-round pick (18th overall) Austin Watson to a three-year entry level contract. Watson spend the duration of the 2010-11 season with Milwaukee (AHL) on an Amateur Tryout Agreement.
"The second half of the season he really played well," Poile said of Watson. "He played in all situations and produced in all situations. Not only was he a strong defensive forward killing penalties and blocking shots – things we liked in his draft year – but he produced some very good numbers offensively. All-in-all, it was really good progress for his year for Austin."
Watson, 19 (1/13/92), completed his third Ontario Hockey League season in 2010-11, posting 68 points (34g-34a) in 68 games with the Peterborough Petes. The Ann Arbor, Mich., native tied for 12th in the OHL in power-play goals (14), tied for the club lead in goals, and ranked second on the Petes in points. In 2009-10, the 6-4, 193-pound was Peterborough’s nominee for the 2010 Red Tilson Award as the OHL’s Most Valuable Player after amassing 20 points (9g-11a) in 10 games upon being acquired from Windsor. With the Windsor Spitfires as a rookie in 2008-09, Watson won both the Robertson Cup as OHL Champion and Memorial Cup.
The oldest of 10 children, Watson has participated in the past two USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camps, and in 2010, helped the United States win gold at the U-18 World Championships, posting three points (1g-2a) and 33 penalty minutes in seven games.
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