#5: Drake Batherson (Reader Rank: 5, Last Year: 9)
It’s #BathTime, baby.
The Silver Seven staff and the readers agree - Drake Batherson slots in at #5 in our Top 25 Under 25 ranking. Rising four spots from last year, Batherson has continued to step up to every stage in his young career.
Drafted with the 121st pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, there was a bit of doubt that Batherson would amount to much at the NHL level. It was Batherson’s second time waiting for his name to be called, as he was passed over in his first year of eligibility. Batherson’s first season in major junior hockey didn’t come until he was 18 - although it was an impressive rookie campaign as he totalled 58 points in 61 games for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. Since that season, it’s been year after year of Batherson stepping up to the plate and knocking it out of the park.
In his first year as a pro, he not only showed up to play for the Belleville Senators, he led the team on the ice. He totalled 62 points in 59 games, leading in points and assists while coming two goals short of also leading his squad in that department. Just like Colin outlined last week regarding Logan Brown’s on ice contributions in Belleville, the BSens scored 61.84% of the on-ice goals when Batherson was playing.
Batherson was able to contribute at this level in part because of his excellent hockey IQ, and in part because he was Belleville’s top winger seeing ice time almost exclusively with Belleville’s top centre. Batherson’s level of play with Brown and Nick Paul made that trio arguably the best in the AHL from January onwards. In the above graphic, you’ll see Brown’s name in the top right. Paul can be found right below him, just above Jack Rodewald’s name. The moral of the story for the 2018-19 Belleville Senators was: if Brown, Batherson and Paul were on the ice, they had the best chance of either team to score a goal.
If you’ve been watching the Rookie Showcase in Belleville over the past few days, you’ll have heard Batherson’s name all over the broadcast, contributing smooth plays and a few points as the alternate captain for the Sens Rooks.
Batherson, like Brown, is clearly ahead of the competition this weekend. The real test comes when the big club’s NHL camp kicks into high gear later this month. With a relatively thin depth chart on the right side, Batherson is looking primed to start the season as an Ottawa Senator - likely with a spot in the top 6.
Here is @SensProspects’ highlight package for Batherson - which is insanely long because of the magnitude of his production in Belleville in 2018-19.