IN­SIDE THE Q: Bather­son’s rapid rise to the NHL


To put Drake Bather­son’s re­cent call-up to the Ottawa Sen­a­tors in per­spec­tive, you re­ally need to re­view the New Mi­nas na­tive’s ca­reer path over the past four years to ap­pre­ci­ate his in­cred­i­ble pro­gres­sion.

Let’s start on May 31, 2014. That was the first time Bather­son was el­i­gi­ble to be drafted into the QMJHL but all 18 teams passed on him. There were 254 play­ers picked that day.

One year later, the Cape Bre­ton Scream­ing Ea­gles se­lected him in the sixth round (97th over­all). They took six play­ers ahead of him but it’s worth not­ing Bather­son was listed at five-foot-eight and 145 pounds at the time.

Three months later, the Scream­ing Ea­gles cut him and sent him to the Val­ley Wild­cats of the Mar­itime Ju­nior Hockey League. Bather­son spent most of the 2015-16 sea­son with the ju­nior A team but did ap­pear in 10 games in Cape Bre­ton, reg­is­ter­ing two as­sists. Not sur­pris­ingly, he wasn’t picked in his first year of NHL draft el­i­gi­bil­ity that sum­mer.

Bather­son fi­nally made the Scream­ing Ea­gles lineup full time in Septem­ber 2016 as an 18-yearold. By then he had grown six inches and gained 40 pounds. He went on to av­er­age close to a point per game (58 points in 61 games) and the Ottawa Sen­a­tors drafted him in the fourth round (121st over­all) on June 24, 2017.

In his sec­ond full QMJHL sea­son last year, Bather­son took his game to an­other strato­sphere. He posted 77 points in 51 reg­u­lar sea­son games and led the league in play­off scor­ing with 33 points in 22 games. In be­tween, he scored seven goals in seven games at the 2018 world ju­nior cham­pi­onship, ty­ing for sec­ond most in the tour­na­ment and win­ning a gold medal. He was also named one of Canada’s three all-stars and his ar­rival as a bona fide NHL prospect could no longer be de­nied.

Al­though he didn’t make the Sen­a­tors out of train­ing camp this Septem­ber, Bather­son put up 20 points in 14 games with the Belleville Sen­a­tors to put him sec­ond in the Amer­i­can Hockey League scor­ing race. Now he’s in the NHL and, based on the di­rec­tion of his re­cent tra­jec­tory, it’s easy to imag­ine him stay­ing there for the long run.

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