The meteoric rise of Drake Batherson continues. A relative no-name just a few years ago, Batherson is now set to join the Ottawa Senators on his first NHL call-up as a first-year pro. The team announced that they have recalled Batherson from the AHL’s Belleville Senators and he could make his debut when the Sens host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.
Batherson, 20, was a fourth-round pick by Ottawa in 2017, merely the 121st overall pick. Batherson had completed just one full season in the QMJHL prior to being drafted, recording 58 points in 61 games for the Cape Breton Screming Eagles. Yet, Batherson was still included in the initial camp to compete for a spot on the Canadian World Junior roster. Against the odds, Batherson earned a spot and skated with the U-20 team at the World Juniors last January. Seemingly out of nowhere, Batherson tallied seven goals, tied for the second most in the tournament behind only American first-round pick Kieffer Bellows and tied for fourth-best in points for the Canadians. Batherson continued a strong campaign back in the QMJHL, totaling 77 points in 51 games between Cape Breton and the Blainsville-Boisbriand Armada, which was good enough to share eleventh place in league scoring. He then led all QMJHL skaters with an astounding 33 points in 22 postseason games for Blainville-Boisbriand, leading the team to an appearance in the league championship.
Some thought that Batherson may be unable to continue his impressive play after making the jump to the pro level this season. Instead, the rookie has 20 points through 14 games with Belleville, tied for second-best in the entire AHL. His 13 assists are additionally third in the league, while he leads the Senators across the board on offense by a wide margin. Ottawa hopes that Batherson can continue to find success against a new challenge, as he has for the past year or so. The Senators have won just three of their past eleven games and could use all the help they can get, especially if it comes from a young, potential future core piece. At this rate, Batherson is looking like just that.