Finally, the Ottawa Senators have no one left in the COVID protocol. Drake Batherson was officially activated this morning, giving the team their full complement of non-injured players for the first time in nearly a month.
Batherson in particular hasn’t played since November 13, a game in which he scored four points to lift the Senators over the Pittsburgh Penguins. In fact, the 23-year-old forward has been one of the few bright spots in Ottawa this season and still leads the team in scoring (by three points) despite missing the last two weeks.
His return should help the team right away, but things are rolling right off the tracks in Ottawa lately. The team has lost five in a row, allowing at least four goals in each game and being outscored 25-10 overall. They’ll get a chance to right the ship tomorrow night against the reeling Vancouver Canucks, who have been battling for the label of worst circus in Canada over the past few weeks as well.
It’s important to get Batherson back on the ice and contributing, given the long-term contract he signed this offseason. Inking a six-year, $29.85MM contract is no small feat for a team like Ottawa that works under an internal budget, and it actually made him the team’s highest-paid forward until Brady Tkachuk finally signed his own RFA deal. We’ll have to wait and see if Batherson is ready to contribute at the same high level right away, but getting him out of the protocol and back on the active roster is a positive step.