The Senators have added some muscle on the wings, announcing the acquisition of winger Austin Watson from Nashville. In return, the Predators acquire Colorado’s fourth-round pick in 2021 (previously acquired by Ottawa). GM Pierre Dorion released the following statement on the deal:
Austin Watson is a big, strong winger who will bring a significant presence to our forward group. He was among Nashville’s forward leaders in blocked shots last season, was the team’s leader in hits and is someone who is especially physical on the forecheck. We also expect him to be a valuable asset on our penalty kill.
The 28-year-old is coming off a fairly quiet season offensively after putting up six goals and eight assists in 53 games in 2019-20, his lowest point total since his rookie year in 2015-16. However, as Dorion alluded to, he has been one of Nashville’s more physical players over the years and will bring that dimension to the Senators. He has two years remaining on his contract with a $1.5MM AAV and that same salary each season.
As for Nashville, Watson’s spot is effectively being filled by Nick Cousins who signed a two-year deal yesterday with the same $1.5MM AAV. The Preds now have over $14MM in cap room to work with, per CapFriendly but have several forwards to sign to fill out their roster. Moving Watson out gives them a bit more flexibility as they look to reshape their forward group following the departures of Nick Bonino, Craig Smith, Kyle Turris, and Mikael Granlund.