Nashville, Tenn. (October 31, 2019) Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/GM David Poile announced Thursday that the team has signed forward Austin Watson to a three-year, $4.5 million contract.

“Austin is the ultimate team player and we look forward to continuing to see him thrive and be an impactful member of our team,” Poile said. “The Predators organization continues to support Austin and his family and are pleased to take this next step forward with them. His hard work, coupled with a caring environment has him in a good place to be successful on and off the ice. Austin sticks up for his teammates and does whatever is necessary to help this team win hockey games.”

“My family and I love Nashville and are excited to continue to be a part of this organization,” Watson said. “I am grateful for the support provided to us by the Nashville Predators, my teammates and the entire city of Nashville, and am excited to continue to move forward with the franchise in our pursuit of the Stanley Cup.”

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Watson, 27 (1/13/92), has a goal, two points and a +4 rating in 12 games with the Predators this season, his fifth full NHL campaign. The 6-foot-4, 204-pound left wing also leads Nashville in hits (21), leads all team forwards in blocked shots (12) and sits tied for 12th among NHL forwards in blocked shots per game (1.1). He notched the game-winning goal in Nashville’s first game of the season against Minnesota on Oct. 3 and logged a season-high 16:22 of ice time on Oct. 8 versus San Jose.

Video: CGY@NSH: Watson buries one-timer off Sissons’ feed

Originally drafted by the Predators in the first round (18th overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft, Watson has tallied 65 points (31g-34a) in 265 games with the franchise since making his League debut on April 7, 2013. Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Watson is second among Preds players in hits (535) and blocked shots (230), while his 0.9 blocked shots per game in that time span are tied for the eighth-most among NHL forwards. Watson has additionally added 19 points (10g-9a) in 41 career postseason games, nine (4g-5a) of which came during the team’s run to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final

Before turning pro, Watson spent four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with Windsor, Peterborough and London, reaching the 2012 Memorial Cup Final with the Knights in his final junior campaign. The Ann Arbor, Mich., native also represented the U.S. at the 2012 World Junior Championship and won a Gold Medal at the 2010 World U-18 Championship.