Breaking Down Sven Baertschi's Incredible Season

Kent Wilson
May 14 2012 10:08AM

 

The Portland Winterhawks fell to the Edmonton Oil Kings in game 7 of the WHL finals last night, ending what is likely one of the best seasons by any Flames prospect in the last two decades. Former 13th overall pick Sven Baertschi led the league in scoring in the post-season (34 points) and would have run away with the regular season title except for injuries and call-ups.

Back in February I looked at Baertschi's splits in terms of % of offense at even strength, power play and total team output. This is a quick way to determine whether a player is overly reliant on either the PP or on a strong team for his scoring. Here is how Baertschi's regular season shook out:

  • Total points: 94
  • Points-per-game: 2.0
  • Even strength points: 54
  • Power play points: 35
  • Short-handed points: 5
  • Total team offense: 222
  • ES%: 60.7
  • PP%: 39.3
  • TEAM%: 42.3
  • NHLE: 49.0

This is all good news. Baertschi is the first Flames prospect I have seen account for 40+% of the team's total scoring in his 18-19 year old season. Greg Nemsiz, in contrast, was at 25% as a teen for Windsor. Ryan Howse managed 33.4% of the Bruins offense in his season after being drafted, but only 50% of his scoring came at even strength.

Baertschi was a central figure in Portland's offense and he did most of his damage at 5on5. There are no red flags here.

Furthermore, Baertschi's NHLE (NHL equivalency) is the highest I've seen for a Flames prospect since I started calculating it a few years ago and is likely the highest amongst the 2012 draft class (Jonathan Huberdeau was close at 47.8). For those who are unfamiliar, NHLE is calculated by using a translation factor to determine how much offense in a given, lower league is "worth" in the NHL. Most decent forward prospects fall in the 30-35 range in terms of NHLE. Only the very best prospects tend to crest 45 as teenagers.

Conclusion

Sven Baertschi had the highest point-per-game rate in the CHL this season despite being a teenager. He was in on nearly half of his team's scoring while he was in the line-up and more than 60% of his offense came at even strength.

Pencil him onto the big club's line-up next year. This dude is ready for prime time.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#2 Graham
May 14 2012, 03:09PM
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lol, I'm pretty sure the Flames can turn this kid into another defensive minded third liner. Just give them time, they can make him forget that he ever scored goals...

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#3 Gange
May 14 2012, 10:32AM
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I can honestly say that this is probably the first Flames prospect I'm genuinely excited to see play.

I'd be curious how he would stack up against previous year draft picks say:

Taylor Hall Tyler Seguin etc

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#4 suba steve
May 14 2012, 10:36AM
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Nice read Kent. Last time I was this jacked to see a young prospect coming up with the Flames was Iggy. No one since has come close, till now. And yes, I do understand that Sven has done nothing (almost) in the NHL yet. But I can't wait to see what comes next.

I see many comments on FN warning of going the total rebuild route like Edm. is doing. If the young prospects that such a rebuild would yield generate any more of this type of interest/excitement, then I say BRING ON THE REBUILD! Long overdue.

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#5 xis10ce
May 14 2012, 10:38AM
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I was very saddened when I opened up the WHL site this morning to find that Sven will not be going to the Memorial Cup. Still, quite the run for him this season. I look forward to seeing more of him next season on dome ice (most likely).

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#6 Gange
May 14 2012, 10:48AM
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I can honestly say that I wasn't stoked about Iggy before he started playing. That was likely due to lack of information though.

Nemisz I was reasonably interested in seeing his skills but am still sceptical. Beyond that I guess I was pretty stoked to see Erixon but not in the same way.

Truly to see Baertschi and Backlund on a line together, or Baertschi and Cervenka...well the combinations go on but needless to say he brings a level of skill that has been SORELY lacking.

Finally he's not a Sutter'esque pick and I was getting tired of the 3rd and 4th liners.

BTW - I'm happy to see the Jolly Rancher doing so well in LA. I always did like him as a coach.

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#7 jeremywilhelm
May 14 2012, 10:57AM
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Ty Rattie was very dissapointing in this last series, Baertschi on the other hand, was not.

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#8 Reg Dunlop
May 14 2012, 11:04AM
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Sven. 5'10" 185. Nate Wells says " risk of being a 1st round bust is high". Dan Shrader says " size aside, his skating can improve". One scout said if he stops going to the middle of the ice he is useless. If he makes the flames I guess that is a sad indictment of their forward depth. At least a lotto pick next year is on the way:)

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#10 suba steve
May 14 2012, 11:21AM
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jeremywilhelm Rattie may turn out to be a great NHL player, time will tell. But when I hear others post the idea of bringing him to Calgary, I always think of when the Flames brought in Hnat Domenichelli in Iggy's early years. Hnat had played with Iggy in Kamloops and the hope was that their chemistry would re-ignite in Calgary. Didn't happen. Guess what I'm trying to say is that Sven + Rattie in the NHL may not be Magic like they were together in the WHL. I have a feeling that if the Flames were to trade for Rattie now, they would be buying at the top of the market, and would thus overpay. But what the heck do I know.

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#11 Tach
May 14 2012, 11:22AM
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Gange,

I think you're recollection of Iginla is a lot more honest than most. I keep going back to this interview (http://www.calgaryherald.com/sports/Iginla+closes+career+goals/5878252/story.html?cid=megadrop_story) about his early days. We didn't know what we had at the time. It wasn't until year 2 or 3 that we knew he was the Iggy we now all know and love.

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#12 suba steve
May 14 2012, 11:39AM
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Tach

Did we know exactly what we had when the Flames landed Iggy?...No, at least I didn't. But, having given Joe Nieuwendyk to land him, a lot of us were looking foreward to seeing Iggy in Flame colors. Just as (years before) I looked foreward to seeing Nieuwendyk, knowing the skilled player (Nilson) they had given up to land him (or at least the draft pick that they took him with) Also looked foreward to Trevor Kidd:(. HONEST.

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#13 Tach
May 14 2012, 12:54PM
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I think it was fair to say we were all interested in what Jarome would bring at the time, but I don't think anyone was really thinking he was going to be a 50 goal scoring, Hart trophy candidate type of guy.

Oh, Trevor Kidd, me too. Sad Trombone.

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#14 Justin Azevedo
May 14 2012, 12:55PM
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more essited then I should be

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#15 flamesburn89
May 14 2012, 01:17PM
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Wow. What a player. 2 points per game in the regular season???? Thats just insane

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#16 negrilcowboy
May 14 2012, 04:27PM
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gotta be optimistic for sven, now if the flames can hire a coach capable of developing him into a blue chipper.

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#17 Sincity1976
May 14 2012, 05:28PM
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I don't know who has it worse. Sven attempt to live up to expectations. Or our next 1st rounder trying to clear the bar.

Cervenka, Sven, and the possibility of real change are the three reasons I am excited about next season.

Now I just need to enter into perennial off season optimism alternated with perennial hockey season overreaction and I will be doing my best impression of a Toronto fan.

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#18 KetchupKid
May 14 2012, 05:33PM
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This team needs another right winger! I was trying to concoct a fantasy Backlund/Baertschi line that didn't have Iginla on it and reality kept getting in the way.

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#19 MC Hockey
May 14 2012, 07:59PM
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Sven does he make the team is all I ask?

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#20 febreze
May 14 2012, 08:18PM
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I haven't poked around enough yet but what's the NHLE for goaltenders? I'm curious about Brossoit who's good season has been overshadowed by Sven's. Let's hope the Memorial Cup is his coming out party although I feel dirty supporting anything to do with any team from Edmonton. I'm cheering for the long suffering host Cataractes.

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#21 T&A4Flames
May 14 2012, 09:33PM
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KetchupKid wrote:

This team needs another right winger! I was trying to concoct a fantasy Backlund/Baertschi line that didn't have Iginla on it and reality kept getting in the way.

Agreed! You could consider either Nemisz, who is probably our best RW prospect or Aliu, who may create more room for Backs & Baertschi with his size. He also seems to have decent speed which may keep him in play more often.

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#22 Sincity1976
May 14 2012, 09:35PM
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KetchupKid wrote:

This team needs another right winger! I was trying to concoct a fantasy Backlund/Baertschi line that didn't have Iginla on it and reality kept getting in the way.

According to his agent Semin will be trying free agency. Baertschi-Backlund-Semin would be interested.

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#23 Emir
May 14 2012, 10:52PM
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I believe that he's the reason they aren't rebuilding. They will some added scoring and have cap room to throw around still. Its a push for the playoffs... I don't know how I feel about it, I'll let the results he the judge

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#24 Ryan Pike
May 14 2012, 11:50PM
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The club's "master plan" better not be "keep the same group, add Sven and pray to God that the team is better."

Because that is a pretty awful plan.

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#25 RKD
May 15 2012, 12:04AM
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Can't wait for Bartschi to be in the line up full time, go Sven go!

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#26 KetchupKid
May 15 2012, 12:13AM
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@Sincity1976

Isn't Semin a left winger?

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#27 KetchupKid
May 15 2012, 12:27AM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

Agreed! You could consider either Nemisz, who is probably our best RW prospect or Aliu, who may create more room for Backs & Baertschi with his size. He also seems to have decent speed which may keep him in play more often.

Bringing Aliu or Nemisz in on anything but extremely limited minutes is a bit scary.

Am I crazy for even considering bringing Jagr on for a year? There's the Cervenka connection and Flames desperately need a RW...

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#28 jr_christ
May 15 2012, 07:50AM
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Ya that kid looks pretty darn great. Flames are pretty lucky to have a youngster like Baertchi.

There always seems to be a 19 year ol who has a phenominal season in the Chl out od no where and open all eyes. The only difference i see is Baertchi is NHL ready and most others we'be seen like Reider, Kozun, st croix and even Rattie are not ready.

He nack for finding open space is uncanny. He reminds me a lot of Taylor Hall when i watched him in the last year of gis memorial cup run.

He won't be a superstar in the nhl upfront... But he certainly will get there pretty damn fast.

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#29 Shredder
May 15 2012, 11:39AM
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Sven is looking like a stud, and Broissaut is looking like one hell of a keeper...funny how they went head to head in the WHL final...

I'm hoping you Flames fans can now understand a taste of the excitement in Edmonton...

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#30 Artax
May 15 2012, 03:15PM
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I'm gonna be pretty annoyed to see Sven on the 3rd line if Tanguay is around next year. Glencross will be on the second line, I don't see them trading him.

I would like to see Baertschi/Backs, Cervenka/Stemps (if they resign him).

I wonder if we could trade Iggy for Semin but we have a glut of left wingers!

I'm thinking if we don't resign any of our UFA guys and resign backs and stempniak we can fill the rest of those spots with Aliu, Bouma, Horak, Reinhart, Ferland (maybe).

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#31 Kevin R
May 15 2012, 04:33PM
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@Artax: Why would trade Iggy to Wash. for Semin when yesterday Semin announced he was going to move on from Wash as an unrestricted free agent & test the market. We can get him for nothing other than an overpaid contract for too many years.

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#32 Sincity1976
May 15 2012, 09:55PM
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@Artax

How many forward prospects are put into top 6 situations in their NHL rookie year when that is also the first year of pro? Not many.

A few guys like Hopkins, Landeskog, Hall, and Eberle all did. Three from the same piss poor organization. All but Eberle high picks.

Most get 15-minutes or less per night to start. That includes players like Smith, Schenn, Couturier, Johansen, Skinner, Grabner, Seguin, etc.

I fully expect Baertschi to spend a lot of time on the third line with PP time and the occasional top 6 promotion thrown in as he earns it. And that is as it should be.

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