Preds Prospect Austin Watson Named OHL Playoff MVP
Preds 2010 First Round pick Austin Watson was named the Ontario Hockey League's Playoff MVP after leading the London Knights to the OHL title --- and the OHL's spot in the Memorial Cup Tournament. Watson is the first US-born player to ever earn OHL Playoff MVP Honors, and the second member of the London Knights organization to claim the award, joining Corey Perry, who accomplished the feat in 2005.
Watson scored 10 goals and 17 points in 19 playoff games, including the game's opening goal in the title-clinching Game 5, a 2-1 London win. His 10 goals were tied for fourth most in the OHL Playoffs, but it was his defensive play that drew even higher praise than his offensive production, including his clutch penalty kill work. Watson's play against Niagara's top line was instrumental in London's five-game win in the Championship Series, posting a +3 plus/minus rating while scoring two goals and one assist. Each of his three points came at crucial times, the goal in Game 3 to tie the game at 2-2 in London's eventual 3-2 win, an assist on the game-winning goal in Game 4, and the goal to opening the scoring in London's 2-1 Game 5 win.
Watson finished the regular season with 25 goals and 68 points in 61 games, but finished strong with 11 goals and 35 points in 29 games after being traded to London in the middle of the season.
London's season will wrap up at the Memorial Cup Tournament from May 17-27 in Shawinigan, Quebec.
Watson will be joined at the tournament by fellow Preds prospect Charles-Olivier Roussel, a defenseman for QMJHL Champion Saint John. Roussel posted 3 goals and 12 assists in 17 playoff games for Saint John, after recording 13 goals and 27 assists in 58 regular season games. His 15 playoff points were third most among QMJHL defensemen, while his 40 points during the regular season ranked 13th among league defensemen. More impressively, Roussel's plus/minus rating of +48 was second in the QMJHL during the regular season, while his +24 was tied for fifth best in the QMJHL playoffs.