Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Bryan Watson
As a youngster growing up in the mining town of Bancroft, Ontario, Bryan Watson's father felt that his son's sporting options were too limited for his youthful ambition. To enrich his environment, he sent Bryan to live with his grandparents in Peterborough at the age of 13.

There, young Watson progressed up the ranks to join the Peterborough Petes of the OHA where he played from 1960 to 1963. He then turned pro and embarked on a lengthy career of musical sweaters, changing uniforms 15 times over the 16 seasons that followed. It seems that his very specific style of play tended to be, for the most part, coveted by teams for only short periods of time.

Watson had the face of a light heavyweight boxer with plenty of scars and a warm smile to soften his tough-guy looks. He was small in stature but backed away from no one. He was an average skater at best who had little scoring touch around the net. But his value came in his refined art of clutching, grabbing and clinging tactics that he used to effectively blanket and antagonize opponents.

In 1966, during a semi-finals game against the Blackhawks, Watson, as a Red Wing, bothered Bobby Hull like an irritating rash, holding the power winger to only one goal in the series. Hull named his persistent antagonist "Super Pest."

In spite of his defensive skills, Watson spent most of the sixties bouncing between the minors and the majors. At the NHL level, he put in two short stints with the Canadiens, a two-year outing with the Wings, and a short visit with the Seals.

It wasn't until the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired his services in 1969 that he finally settled into his spiritual home. With the Pens, Watson took his game of antagonism to its height. Over his five-plus seasons with the club, he played with combative consistency. Although he only led the NHL in single-season penalty minutes once, he managed to eventually become the league's all-time penalty-minute king until Dave Schultz and Tiger Williams shattered his mark sometime later.

In 1974, Watson moved on to the St. Louis Blues for a brief spell before joining the Red Wings for a second time. He continued with his tradition of hustle and crime for two-and-a-half seasons in the Motor City. He was then traded to his final NHL stop in Washington where he left the league for good in 1979. The rugged rearguard put in a brief outing with the Cincinnati Stingers of the WHA and then retired from on-ice duty at the end of the season.

Watson then joined the Edmonton Oilers as an assistant and then as an ill-fated head coach. He lasted only a brief time behind the bench before being fired. The event marked the end of his association with pro hockey.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1960-61 Peterborough Petes OHA-Jr. 18 0 1 1 4
1961-62 Peterborough Petes OHA-Jr. 50 3 16 19 129
1962-63 Peterborough Petes OHA-Jr. 49 9 22 31 80 6 0 3 3 10
1962-63 Hull-Ottawa Canadiens EPHL 3 1 1 2 0
1963-64 Montreal Canadiens NHL 39 0 2 2 18 6 0 0 0 2
1963-64 Omaha Knights CPHL 9 1 1 2 12
1964-65 Montreal Canadiens NHL 5 0 1 1 7
1964-65 Quebec Aces AHL 64 1 16 17 186 5 0 0 0 35
1965-66 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 2 7 9 133 12 2 0 2 30
1966-67 Detroit Red Wings NHL 48 0 1 1 66
1966-67 Memphis Wings CPHL 16 1 3 4 76
1967-68 Montreal Canadiens NHL 12 0 1 1 9 -3
1967-68 Cleveland Barons AHL 12 2 4 6 22
1967-68 Houston Apollos CPHL 50 2 37 39 293
1968-69 Oakland Seals NHL 50 2 3 5 97 -16
1968-69 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 18 0 4 4 35 -11
1969-70 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 61 1 9 10 189 -1 10 0 0 0 17
1969-70 Baltimore Clippers AHL 5 1 2 3 8
1970-71 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 43 2 6 8 119 -5
1971-72 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 75 3 17 20 212 +5 4 0 0 0 21
1972-73 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 69 1 17 18 179 +18
1973-74 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 38 1 4 5 137 -12
1973-74 St. Louis Blues NHL 11 0 1 1 19 0
1973-74 Detroit Red Wings NHL 21 0 4 4 99 -1
1974-75 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 1 13 14 238 -29
1975-76 Detroit Red Wings NHL 79 0 18 18 322 -20
1976-77 Detroit Red Wings NHL 14 0 1 1 39 +2
1976-77 Washington Capitals NHL 56 1 14 15 91 -5
1977-78 Washington Capitals NHL 79 3 11 14 167 -12
1978-79 Washington Capitals NHL 20 0 1 1 36 -7
1978-79 Cincinnati Stingers WHA 21 0 2 2 56 3 0 1 1 2
NHL Totals 878 17 135 152 2212 32 2 0 2 70


CPHL First All-Star Team (1968)
CPHL - Most Valuable Defenseman (1968)
CPHL - Most Valuable Player (1968)
Traded to Chicago by Montreal for Don Johns, June 8, 1965. Claimed by Detroit from Chicago in Intra-League Draft, June 9, 1965. Claimed by Minnesota from Detroit in Expansion Draft, June 6, 1967. Traded to Montreal by Minnesota for Bill Plager and the rights to Leo Thiffault and Barrie Meissner, June 6, 1967. Traded to Oakland by Montreal with cash for Oakland's 1st round choice (Michel Larocque) in 1972 Amateur Draft and future considerations (Tom Thurlby, September, 1968), June 28, 1968. Traded to Pittsburgh by Oakland with George Swarbrick and Tracy Pratt for Earl Ingarfield, Gene Ubriaco and Dick Mattiussi, January 30, 1969. Selected by Los Angeles (WHA) in 1972 WHA General Player Draft, February 12, 1972. Traded to St. Louis by Pittsburgh with Greg Polis and Pittsburgh's 2nd round choice (Bob Hess) in 1974 Amateur Draft for Steve Durbano, Ab DeMarco Jr. and Bob Kelly, January 17, 1974. Traded to Detroit by St. Louis with Chris Evans and Jean Hamel for Ted Harris, Bill Collins and Garnet Bailey, February 14, 1974. Traded to Washington by Detroit for Greg Joly, November 30, 1976. Signed as a free agent by Cincinnati (WHA) following release by Washington, March 2, 1979. Claimed by Edmonton from Cincinnati (WHA) in WHA Dispersal Draft, June 9, 1979.