The Nashville Predators have announced that they have re-signed forward Austin Watson to a three-year deal worth $3.3 million. The 25-year-old will earn $1 million in year one, $1.1 million in year two, and $1.2 million in the third year. Watson will remain under contract with the Predators through the 2019-20 campaign. The contract has an AAV or cap hit of $1.1 million per season. The deal allows the two sides to avoid arbitration.
Another arbitration avoidance: #Preds sign Austin Watson to $3.3M, 3-year deal. Cap hit of $1.1M.
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) July 24, 2017
Austin Watson Re-Signs with Nashville Predators
Watson is coming off a career best season in 2016-17, after having scored five goals and 17 points in 77 games (career highs in each area). He emerged even further in the post-season, scoring four goals and nine points in 22 contests en route to the Predators’ berth in the Stanley Cup Final. Watson was drafted in the first round (18th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and has nine goals and 28 points over the course of 140 games.
Watson made his NHL debut in the 2012-13 lockout shortened campaign, scoring one goal (the first of his career) in six games. He didn’t play again until 2015-16, where he scored three goals and seven assists for ten points in 57 contests. In addition to providing the Predators with depth scoring, Watson racked up 99 penalty minutes, which ranked first among all skaters. The 6’04”, 200-pound centre also ranked third on the team in penalty minutes in the post-season with 28, behind defencemen Mattias Ekholm (38) and P.K. Subban (29). Watson also put up a career best plus-minus rating of plus-14 this past season.
Watson had a strong junior career, winning two OHL championships as a member of the Windsor Spitfires (2009) and London Knights (2012). He also led the United States in both points and assists at the 2012 World Junior Championship, and led the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals in goals (with 26) in 2014-15.
The Predators recently signed forward Viktor Arvidsson to a seven-year deal at an AAV of $4.25 million. The team also needs to re-sign first-line centre Ryan Johansen, a restricted free agent who did not file for arbitration.