Watling heads back to Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears, ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and AHL’s Toronto Marlies, have announced that the club has agreed to terms with forward Patrick Watling for the 2016-17 season.

Watling, 22, completed his second season with the Solar Bears in 2015-16, recording 28 points (6g-22a) and 12 penalty minutes in 24 games while on an AHL contract with the Marlies.

Despite missing nearly two-thirds of the season due to an injury sustained on Oct. 31 at Reading, Watling was one of Orlando’s most productive offensive weapons, as he was only held without a point in three games and never went more than one game without recording a point. Half of Watling’s goals were game-winners, including his last-second tally in Orlando’s 4-3 overtime win against the Florida Everblades during Fan Appreciation Night on April 7.

In 77 career games with Orlando and Toronto, Watling has accumulated 56 points (19g-37a) and 44 penalty minutes. The native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario is one of only three Solar Bears players who has played more than one season with Orlando while still maintaining over a point-per-game pace with the Solar Bears, along with Jacob Cepis and Mickey Lang.

Prior to turning pro, Watling played major junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League from 2010-14 with the Guelph Storm and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, posting totals of 102 points (36g-66a) and 75 penalty minutes in 187 games.