Senators sign Batherson to six-year contract

Ottawa Senators' Drake Batherson, right, celebrates his game-winning goal with teammate Thomas Chabot during shoot out NHL hockey action against the Calgary Flames in Calgary, Sunday, March 7, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

The Ottawa Senators have locked up a key piece of their future, signing forward Drake Batherson to a six-year deal.

The contract will pay the 23-year-old forward $29.85 million, an average annual value of $4.975 million per season.

Batherson was fourth on the team in scoring last season, with 17 goals and 17 assists. Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said he is an “integral component” of the team’s future at forward.

“Dating to his first pro season, he has steadily progressed to the point where he is now widely recognized as a bonafide top line NHL winger,” Dorion said in a news release. “He possesses a strong ability to play at both ends of the ice, is a key power play contributor and someone we expect to be a prominent player for us for several years to come.”

Batherson, a longtime Nova Scotia resident, is scheduled to appear in his 100th NHL game when the Senators open their season Oct. 14 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.