Ottawa Senators Prospect Report: Formenton, Batherson lead fast-rising 2017 class

Toronto native Alex Formenton talked after being drafted by the Senators about the rivalry against Toronto and if he expects to make the NHL next season.

And then there were three.

The Ottawa Senators had just four selections in the 2017 NHL Draft and one of the players they chose — first-rounder Shane Bowers — is no longer part of the organization thanks to the three-way trade that brought centre Matt Duchene to Canada’s capital.

So while this report detailing the progress of Ottawa’s most recent draft picks won’t be voluminous, the Sens might have a little quality-over-quantity thing going on due to the rapid rise of a couple players.

Bowers, in case you’re wondering, is off to a nice start with eight goals in 17 games for Boston University as an NCAA freshman. But that’s a story for Avalanche fans to be intrigued by now. Here, then, is a look at Ottawa’s trio of remaining prospects from the 2017 draft.

Alex Formenton, 18, LW, London Knights

Drafted: Second round, 47th overall, 2017
Season to date: 17GP | 9G | 12A | 21P | plus-4

The kid nobody saw coming — maybe because he’s so flippin’ fast — made the Senators out of camp and played one game before being sent back to major junior. The next team he cracks could well be Canada’s 2018 World Junior Championship entry.

Formenton has been heating up of late, sniping three goals and five points in his past four outings. The Knights had just one win in 10 outings before he returned, but have posted a 12-4-1 record since the speedster got back in the mix.

For an in-depth look at Formenton, check out this profile by Sportsnet’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman.

Drake Batherson, 19, C, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles

Drafted: Fourth round, 121st overall, 2017
Season to date: 22GP | 17G | 20A | 37P | minus-5

The only thing that’s been able to stop Batherson this season is a slash from Dylan Seitz that earned the Moncton Wildcats player a three-game suspension. The incident occurred on Nov. 19 and, sadly, could cost Batherson — who’s looking like a serious draft-day steal — a shot at Canada’s WJC club in his final year of eligibility.

The 6-foot-2 pivot came storming out of the gate this season, netting 17 goals in his first 15 games. And while he’d gone without a goal in six outings before his injury, he was still finding ways to contribute, offering up seven helpers in those contests. Five days before having his hand fractured by Seitz, Batherson scored the game-winning goal in Team QMJHL’s 3-1 win over Russia in the penultimate match of the annual six-game series with the three CHL circuits.

Again, we turn to the fine work of Nugent-Bowman for more on the fast-rising Batherson — who was passed over entirely in the 2016 draft — and his unique path to the Q.

Jordan Hollett, 18, G, Medicine Hat Tigers

Drafted: Sixth round, 183rd overall, 2017
Season to Date: 9-5-0 | 3.40 GAA | .892 SP

Hollett has essentially been splitting time with 20-year-old Michael Bullion for the Central Division-leading Tigers after being acquired by Medicine Hat in the off-season from the Regina Pats. As is the case with most goalies (and sixth-round picks), he figures to have a long journey ahead of him if he’s ever to crack the NHL.

His 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame, however, will always get him an extra look.