Matthew Watkins was born on November 22, 1986 in Aylesbury, Saskatchewan. A product of the University of North Dakota, he was selected in the fifth round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars.
Upon completion of his collegiate career Watkins would join the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL, where he made his professional debut. Following 14 games with the Wranglers, he joined the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League for the duration of the 2009-10 season.
In 2011-12 Watkins would get his first taste of NHL action. He would suit up for a single game for the Phoenix Coyotes in the late stages of the season.
On July 8, 2013, Watkins signed as a free agent with the Washington Capitals.