Name: Spencer Watson
Position: Right Wing
Weight: 170 lbs.
Team: Kingston Frontenacs (2013-14)
From: London, ON
#56-Draftsite.com (mock draft)
Spencer Watson is perhaps the most offensively gifted prospect outside the top 30 in this year’s draft. The diminutive right winger put up 33 goals in 2013-14 with the Kingston Frontenacs, playing next to another soon to be draftee in Sam Bennett.
His biggest asset is a deadly wrist shot. Quickly released, hard, and accurate, Watson doesn’t need much time or space to send threatening shots on goal. He isn’t a one-trick pony however, with speed to burn and dazzling puck handling, he is more than capable of deking or skating his way through opposition as well as sniping from afar. In terms of style rather than potential, his game is similar to Phil Kessel.
So with all this ability, why isn’t Austin a surefire first round pick? As is common among highly skilled young forwards, Watson can struggle with game-to-game consistency and defensive awareness- though neither seem to take from his draft stock as much as lack of size has. However willing to challenge opponents physically and go into dirty areas, Watson’s lack of strength makes him easy to handle for defensemen he can’t jet past or fool with a deke- a class of player which will only become more common for him once he outgrows the OHL. With that in mind, Watson certainly has to add to his 170 lb. frame to make it in the NHL- though not so much as to take away from the speed which makes him so difficult to contain in the first place.
Watson is expected to be chosen somewhere in the 45-60 range at the draft.
“Spencer Watson is one of the best natural goal scorers in this year’s draft class. He has an exceptional release and gets the puck off his stick in a hurry. His shot is both hard and accurate, which is a lethal combination. Watson is an excellent skater who reaches top speed in a hurry. He’s very creative with the puck in the offensive zone, and is an underrated puck distributor. Watson has very good hands and possesses the ability to beat defenders one-on-one with his deking ability if he doesn’t blow right by them with his speed. Though he has a small frame, he’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas, will crash the net and can find seams through traffic. He’s effective on the power play, but only five of his 33 goals were scored on the man advantage meaning he’s able to be effective at full strength. Though he’s undersized, he’s pretty relentless on the puck in the offensive zone and isn’t afraid of fighting with bigger opponents for possession.” -Todd Cordell, The Hockey Guys
“Watson is a pure sniper who has a fantastic wrist shot, and outstanding release. He also has a very good one-timer. Watson has a high hockey IQ, he sees the play developing, and is able to slip into openings in the defence in order to get open for a shot. At just 5’10″ Watson is a little undersized but he is willing to go to the dirty areas to score goals and has the soft hands to bury rebounds and tip-ins close to the net. Watson’s playmaking game is underrated at this point because he’s such a great sniper, but the passing skills and vision are also there to be a very dangerous player both off the rush and in the zone. He’s willing to dig in corners, but he really needs to add more weight to his frame to be better at it. He needs to be a little more patient with the puck on his stick, he always seems to take the first option, whether it be a shot on goal, or a quick pass.” -Ben Kurr, Last Word on Sports