If you haven't seen it, I have a new draft feature up on the hockeyjournal.com website on Austin Watson.
I had wanted to include comments from one of my NHL sources who's seen him an awful lot going back to the 08-09 season, when he was an OHL rookie with Windsor, but couldn't track him down in time to meet my deadline.
So, I talked to the source this afternoon and mentioned to him that some see Watson as one of those "safe" picks who doesn't have the kind of upside to justify selection at 15th overall, and he had a visceral reaction to that assertion.
Here are his comments:
"He goes to Peterborough and immediately puts up two points per game," the NHL scout told Bruins 2010 Draft Watch. "He's a heart-and-soul guy for me. He scores big goals and blocks shots. That's the kind of kid and competitor he is."
But, the doubters may say, those comments don't address Watson's scoring upside. Well, there's more:
"Watson's a surefire second-liner in my view," said the scout. "He can play center or wing and I think you'll see Boston start him at the wing, assuming they were to draft him, but he has the versatility to switch back to the middle, as he's played both positions and can do both very well. I think that people who say he's a 'safe' pick either haven't seen him or only saw him once or twice with Windsor. He's a guy who can both score and set up the play and is going to give you every bit of what he has. If that what amounts 'safe' to someone, then I don't know what kind of hockey they're watching."
Well, there it is. One scout's opinion, but he does get paid to do his job and he's very good at it. It doesn't mean he's bang-on and nor does he have a crystal ball, but I feel pretty confident with his judgment and assessment.
I also think there's a good chance that all of this is moot; that Boston will give up the 15th pick and more to try and move into the top-five to secure a top defenseman prospect rather than wait, but if that falls through and Watson is there at 15 when the B's are picking, I have to think that he'll be their guy.