The Ottawa Senators have announced the forward Austin Watson will be out 4-6 weeks due to an unspecified injury. The 29-year-old suffered the injury in a recent game against the Calgary Flames. This is a tough blow to a team that was already one of the worst in the entire league. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun provided the update Wednesday morning.
Austin Watson will be out four to six weeks. "A big loss for us," says coach DJ Smith. #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) March 24, 2021
Senators Austin Watson Out 4-6 Weeks
Watson has been an effective two-way skater in 2020-21. The veteran has three goals and 10 points in 29 games along with 100 hits and 49 blocks. The scoring rate is the second-best of Watson’s seven-year career, behind only 2018-19 with the Nashville Predators. His 43.1 Corsi For and -8.3 relative Corsi reflect a player almost wholly incapable of driving offence, but he adds a level of grit to a team still trying to build around young skill players. The team has certainly appreciated his ability to kill penalties and do the little things in support of the team’s stars.
The Predators originally drafted Watson in the first round of the 2010 Draft. The Michigan native played with the Preds and accumulated 36 goals and 77 points in 306 games. His 6′-4″ frame and skills fit perfectly into Nashville’s physical scheme, but they traded him to Ottawa prior to this year for a fourth-round pick in the upcoming 2021 Draft. He is clearly a product of an era where big forwards were more valuable in the draft than they are now, but Watson has still produced a respectable NHL career.
How Ottawa Replaces Watson
There isn’t a great replacement for Watson, but Ottawa certainly has plenty of prospects available. The team might see what 2017 draftee Alex Formenton can do initially. The fourth-round pick has only one assist in 10 NHL games, but he is worth checking out. There are also taxi squad candidates like Vitaly Abramov or Jack Kopacka. While this injury definitely hurts Ottawa in the short-term, they are already bad. This can only help them win the valuable first overall pick in 2021.