In The Pipeline: Ottawa Senators Forwards

OTTAWA, ON - JUNE 29: Ottawa Senators Prospect Center Drake Batherson (19) during the Ottawa Senators Development Camp on June 29, 2019, at Bell Sensplex in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

With the defence wrapped up, the Ottawa Senators forwards are next up on the list for the last In The Pipeline piece. The Senators forwards are something that fans can finally be excited about. In this article, we’ll look at three forwards who are most likely to bring the most success to this dire team.

Drake Batherson

Drake Batherson is arguably the best Senators forward prospect in the system right now. The 21-year-old came into the AHL guns blazing in the 2018-19 season. He saw himself get a sniff of NHL action also registering nine points in 20 games. Batherson is an interesting case in that even though he looks promising, he still might not be able to crack the roster come October. Except it’s not due to missing talent from the youngster, it’s about measuring if that’s a suitable option for his development. Now, there’s probably a majority of Sens fans that will tell you Drake Batherson should absolutely make the lineup. To that, you can say two different things.

Yes, Batherson is clearly a valuable piece to the Senators core moving forward in their rebuild and should be used effectively. Maybe it’s not all that simple though. Making the jump to the NHL can be a big transition for any prospect considering how the game has evolved and still is. There must be a mix of caution in the process too for the Senators with Batherson. While it would be great to see him get into the lineup and play top-end minutes, you could actually be doing more harm than good for the kid.

Batherson will have some healthy competition at camp though. The likes of many other youngsters will make training camp fascinating to follow, and see how Batherson ends up doing.

Alex Formenton

Unlike Drake Batherson, a guy like Alex Formenton has yet to play an extended amount of time in the minors for the Senators. Drafted in 2017, Formenton was the Senators 47th overall selection in the second round. The 19-year-old has spent most of his time with the London Knights of the OHL so far. Through 144 junior games played, Formenton has managed to score 116 points. The cold fact here is that he’s never really gone over and beyond in production. But if you look at Alex’s play throughout his hockey career, all the way from the Bantam AAA to the OHL, he’s been a point per game roster player only a few times for his respective teams. While that may not be a great thing to hear, it shouldn’t be discouraging, here’s why.

Not a scoring phenomenon so far, we’ve established that with Alex Formenton. When it’s all said and done though, something about his game did attract the eyes of scouts. After all, he’s on track to begin his first pro season. The big plus for Formenton is his speed, that’s his meat and potatoes. In today’s game, a player with speed can benefit from that a whole ton. The Senators saw flashes of Formenton’s speed before in exhibition games. He actually ended up playing nine games with the organization last year before being sent down to juniors.

A great thing about Alex Formenton is that he also has a shot. He managed to score 29 goals for the Knights in 2017-18. Last season wasn’t great but it’ll be interesting to see his transition when he hits the ice in Ottawa and Belleville. He’ll have a chance to make noise in training camp and if he ultimately does not make the team, then time in the AHL should do anything but hurt his development.

Logan Brown

How many times have you heard the name Logan Brown? probably plenty of times when it comes to the Ottawa Senators forwards. Brown is certainly the one prospect the Senators have that is surrounded with question marks. Ever since being drafted, Brown has struggled with a storm of injuries in his career so far. It started in the OHL and it followed him into last year.

Despite dealing with this, Brown actually had a fine first pro season. He finished the year with 42 points in 56 games with the Belleville Senators. Much of that production came in the second half of the season where he shined for the organization. If it matters at all, Brown also finished with a +/- of 19. The worry with him though, as it always has been in his health throughout a full hockey season. Nevertheless, Brown still has room to potentially be a critical player for the Sens. He’s only 21-years-old and coming off the season he did, you might want to keep an eye on the kid.

Don’t call off the bet on Logan Brown just yet

If Logan Brown does eventually morph into an impactful player, it’ll be delightful for the Sens as they could use some help down the middle. For Brown and many other youngsters on this team, it’s a matter of continuing to improve and trying to be the best version of themselves when they get on the ice. Even if Brown turns into a fine third-line centre, that’s news the organization would love to hear. In the upcoming season, you’ll most likely see him play a mix of NHL/AHL hockey. If an injury occurs for the Sens, he’ll be one of the top guys to be called up. To close this out, Brown has the potential to be something still, it’s just a matter of what that is. The Ottawa Senators forwards are definitely benefiting from having someone like Brown in the mix.

Final thoughts on the Ottawa Senators forwards

Although it looks to be another dreadful year in the nation’s capital, the Senators organization and their fans should be excited about their future. They are drafting and a pile of youngsters that look promising. Remember that while all of these guys want to have positive turnouts, not every prospect lives up to their hype. Someone in the forward group will eventually not seem like what everyone thought of him initially. Quite frankly though, that’s just the NHL. You’re not gonna hit a bullseye on every pick you make as an organization. That’s something that should not be forgotten as this rebuild moves along in Sens land.

The Ottawa Senators forwards group looks strong and should be impactful for the next few years. As mentioned before though, everything takes time and it’s no different with this. The only thing the Senators can do for the time being is to make sure they take care of these players. Drafting is not the easiest thing nowadays, and when you have something special like this, you must treat it with caution and care.

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