Will Austin Watson’s Suspension Hurt the Predators?
The National Hockey League announced on Tuesday that Nashville forward Austin Watson has been suspended indefinitely due to alcohol abuse. The news comes just six months after an 18-game suspension for domestic violence. Austin Watson’s suspension is clearly necessary, but it’s a tough break for the Predators.
Nashville now has less than 30 games left in the regular season, and online sportsbooks in the US like Bovada are listing them as an underdog to win the championship this year. With Watson’s second suspension, do they still have a shot at the Stanley Cup?
Watson’s History on and off the Ice
Austin Watson was selected to join the Nashville Predators as the 18th overall draft pick in 2010. He played as a regular on the team’s lineup at the start of 2015. Watson scored 17 points the following season, including nine in the playoffs. He helped Nashville reach their first Stanley Cup Finals in 2016 before losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins after six games.
Nashville re-signed Watson for the 2017 season to a three-year contract worth $3.3 million. The future looked bright for the young forward. Behind the scenes, he was struggling.
Watson admitted he’s struggled with alcoholism, depression, and anxiety since he was 18 years old in a recent Instagram post. He discussed the domestic assault incident back in June that resulted in an 18 game suspension, claiming he was now focusing solely on his family and NHL career.
Unfortunately, news broke on Tuesday that the NHL was enforcing Austin Watson’s suspension for alcohol abuse. The details surrounding his suspension are still unclear. With one of their top forwards out, many are now wondering how the Predators will fare as the playoffs approach.
Nashville Predators’ Odds to Win the Stanley Cup
Nashville ranks second in the Central Division right now with a record of 30-18-4. They’ve looked good this season despite some of their best players including Kyle Turris sitting on the bench. If they can maintain their form over the next few weeks, they have a real shot at once again reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.
Minnesota is the most likely opponent that Nashville will face in the first round of the playoffs. Most NHL betting experts feel that is a game they will win.
At the moment, Bovada Sportsbook lists the Predator’s odds to win the 2019 Stanley Cup at +1200. It remains to be seen how the team will respond to one of their most reliable forwards being suspended.
Has Austin Watson’s Suspension Affected the Betting Odds?
At least for now, no.
As we mentioned earlier, Watson already faced a huge suspension at the beginning of the season, and Predator’s managed to handle themselves pretty well. Ryan Johansen and Mattias Ekholm are doing fantastic on offense while Pekke Rinne holds down the team’s defense.
If Austin had been playing this entire season the Predator’s odds may have been affected. The reality is that he hasn’t been a major factor for the team throughout the 2018/19 season. He’s scored just seven goals and earned 13 points.
Nashville has one of the most talented overall rosters in the league. The NHL trade deadline is only a few weeks away, and the team may experience a shakeup. The Predators’ recent loss to the Jets is likely to make an impact on the trade decisions.
News of Austin Watson’s suspension is sad, but it shouldn’t have much of an impact on the rest of the season. Nashville will continue to push for their chance at a championship.
Do you think Watson’s suspension will impact Nashville? Which team do you think wins the Stanley Cup this season? Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and head to Bovada Sportsbook to find a complete list of NHL betting odds for the rest of the season.
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