In preparation for the NHL Draft on June 25, Die by the Blade will profile potential Buffalo Sabres Draft Picks. This feature will run daily with one or two players profiled each day.
Peterborough Petes (OHL)
6'-3" 185 lbs.
Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI
Date of Birth: January 13, 1992
Stats: 52 GP, 20 G, 34 A, 54 PTS 22 PIM
The Good - Watson is a player that is mature beyond his age. He is a natural born leader. He is a very good player in all three zones and really understands the game in the defensive zone. He is a fearless player that will sacrifice his body to make a play. He is willing to go into the dirty areas that create opportunities and gives 110% on every shift. He is Patrick Kaleta with some size.
The Bad - His offensive abilities don't translate well to the pro game. He will likely be a third or fourth line player that contributes 10-15 goals a season. He lacks vision and creativity with the puck. While he is fast enough and good enough skater to carry the puck, he is much better away from the puck.
What They Are Saying
"Austin is a big power forward that protects the puck very well all over the ice. He is a great shot blocker and penalty kill specialist. Austin also exhibits a great net front presence on the power-play and even strength and has a very good stick allowing him to create goals and scoring chances off redirections and tips. He also displays good leadership qualities for such a young player."
Why The Sabres Might Pick Him
The Sabres and their fans seem to like this type of player. A guy that is willing to give 110% on every shift will become a fan favorite in almost any city but in Buffalo the people relate to that type of individual. At 23 it is difficult to get an impact player but Watson seems to be a sure NHLer.
Why The Sabres Might Pass on Him
They might not have a choice. Watson is the type of player that teams in the NHL covet and he is likely to be swept up by the time the Sabres draft at 23. The Sabres could still pass on him if he is on the board, they might be looking for more of an impact player instead of another role player on a team that is filled with role players.