No. 21: Drake Batherson (Reader Rank: 18, N/A)
The very first thing we should get out of the way is that Drake Batherson has a great name. I’m kind of rooting for the kid on the basis of his name alone.
That said, Batherson’s something of a curious prospect. The Sens’ 4th round pick this year, 121st overall, he’s taken the road less traveled to make it this far. Batherson was technically a rookie in the QMJHL last year but he earned his draft spot with a strong offensive showing, notching 58 points in 61 games. Scouts have described Batherson as a late bloomer not just skill-wise but just in terms of his actual growth; he’s apparently grown four inches in just the last two years. Given that he’s listed at 6”1, those extra four inches are probably a big factor in his being where he is today. As you might imagine, he seems very excited to be getting his shot:
As for his prospects in the Senators organization, it’s tough to get a read on a player like Batherson. He’s only played 71 games of QMJHL hockey, and his last season was as a 19 year-old. His offensive numbers, while not gaudy, are impressive enough but one can’t help but wonder how his production was influenced by simply being a year older than most players in his draft class. Historically, NHL teams have tended to shy away from 19 year-old scorers. During Pierre Dorion’s tenure as General Manager, however, the Sens have been more willing to take a gamble on players like Batherson who produce in junior only after turning 19. There’s some research to suggest that this is a decent bet. There are certainly worse ways to spend a fourth round pick.
Ultimately my take on Batherson is the same as most of the other names in this part of our list: we just don’t have enough information yet to really know what to make of where he might end up. I do like that he’s been described as a skilled player with some offensive upside, and from what I’ve seen of his play from the QMJHL he isn’t afraid to make a play with the puck. It’s boring to say but it’s the truth: we’ll know a lot more about Batherson’s place in the Sens’ prospect hierarchy in about twelve months time.
For what’s it worth, he had a few good moments in development camp earlier this summer — most notably a nice finish on a breakaway (it’s at the end of this short clip). Let’s hope there’s more of these breakaway goals to come: