After suffering an extremely unfortunate high-ankle sprain on January 25th, Batherson is back
There’s no arguing between fans, management, and even the Senators coaches when discussing star forward Drake Batherson‘s play prior to his injury, he was far and away the team’s best forward, and offensive player. Through the first 31 games of this season, Batherson would find the back of the net 13 times, while adding 21 assists, he currently leads the Senators in points-per-game by a steady margin (1.10), with the next closest being Josh Norris (0.77). Adding this level of production and offensive firepower to the lineup for the final 18 games of the season is extremely exciting for both management and fans alike. At just 23, Batherson has a lot of room to grow, and it was obvious this season, he’s already matched his point production from last season in 25 fewer games.
Taken out by Buffalo Sabres’ goaltender Aaron Dell a couple of months ago, there’s no doubt that the “dirty” and easily avoidable collision didn’t sit well within the Senators locker room, and rightfully so, especially with a player as respected as Batherson. Despite Dell receiving a subsequent three-game suspension, Senators coach D.J. Smith was hot about the situation and likely held back a bit with some answers:
Adding Batherson back to the forward group helps all the other Senators’ lines become much more balanced. The 23-year-old forward will slot back into his usual spot on the top-line alongside Brady Tkachuk and Josh Norris, a line that had already found plenty of success in the earlier part of the season. This allows Colin White to kick down to a more comfortable spot on the third line, and suddenly the team looks greatly improved on the right-wing.
Batherson’s offensive creativity was badly missed during his two-month absence, there were stretches of action where it looked like the team would never score again, add an offensive force like Batherson, and the Senators’ scoring problems will diminish. His return couldn’t come at a better time either, as the Senators face the top team in the Eastern Conference, the Florida Panthers.
Want your voice heard? Join the SenShot team!