The Ottawa Senators Great Success With Late-Bloomers

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Drake Batherson #19 of the Ottawa Senators (Photo by Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

Drake Batherson

4th Round (121st Overall) in 2017

Batherson may be the prime example of a “late-bloomer” as he wasn’t even playing Major Junior hockey in his draft year, instead, he was playing in the Maritime Junior “A” Hockey League with the Valley Wildcats. This league is a huge step below the QMJHL and Batherson only put up pedestrian numbers with 19 points in 28 games, while he made a brief appearance with Cape Breton of the QMJHL, he didn’t impress too much (2 assists in 10 games). Unsurprisingly Batherson was passed over in the 2016 NHL Draft but what was to follow was nothing sort of extraordinary.

In an interview with the Guardian, former NHLer and the father of Drake, Norm Batherson explained why his son was such a “late-bloomer”.

Batherson was a late bloomer, his father Norm said, but once he hit his growth spurt and was given a chance, he took off.

By the time Batherson was drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 QMJHL Draft, he was listed at just 5’8″ and just 145 pounds but fast-forward two years later and thanks to a huge growth spurt, by the time he was selected by Ottawa he was 6’2″ and nearly 190 pounds. Everyone noticed Batherson’s great talent in his early years but his size was always a barrier, now having the size advantage over other players he began to dominate.

In his draft+1 season, Batherson produced at nearly a point/game clip (58 points in 61 games) and the insane growth from his 2016 season to his 2017 season caught the eyes of the Senators staff. This was clearly not a finished product and the New Minas, Nova Scotia native would break out on the national stage the very next season.

The now 19-year-old would set the “Q” on fire during the start of the 2017-18 season as he was one of the league’s better players throughout the season finishing with 29 goals and 77 points in just 51 games. Batherson also shocked many when he made the Canadian World Junior team and had a giant impact on their gold medal victory, scoring 7 goals in 7 games. The Senators saw Batherson’s development curve and saw a great opportunity and it’s now turned into a philosophy for the amateur scouting staff and it’s paid off in more than just one instance.

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