June 25 2012 10:02AM
Like it was going to be anyone else.
What hasn't already been said about the gem that is Sven Baertschi? Well, the answer to that is probably "nothing", but I'm gonna truck on regardless.
Baertschi, drafted 13th overall last summer, lit it up in his draft year - playing in 66 games, he notched 34 genos and 51 apples in 66 games. Obvously, that is not an insignificant amount of scoring for a teenager playing his first season on a new continent, and he was ranked quite highly.
However, on draft day, Baertschi ended up falling a few spots to 13 amid concerns about his size (at the time aboout 5'10 and 175) and age (late 1992 birthday, making him older then many of his drafted peers). That fall worked out swimmingly for Jay Feaster and company.
Baertschi had a great first half of the season, scoring at more than a PPG pace up until the World Junior Championships, where he was the unquestioned star for the Swiss team... for about 2 games. Baertschi took a hit at some point of the second period and was knocked out of the tournament with a "light concussion". Baertschi would also miss a few games of WHL action before returning to the lineup with a 4-point performance.
*Reminder - The evaluators were asked to rank players, and we sorted the rankings via a simple point scale-number 15 on each list got one point, while number 1 on each list got 15. The criteria for who was included was pretty simple: players the Flames control who are 23 and under (excluding Mikael Backlund, since he's already a bona fide NHLer).
Eventually, he got the call to play for the big club - and he impressed, scoring three goals in five games. After that short stint, however, he was sent back down to avoid the first year of his ELC activating. Sven would finish the season scoring at an unreal 2 point per game pace - 47 games and 94 points in the dub.
It's been a long time since any of us have seen this skilled of a prospect in Flames silks - dude is slick as can be with the puck, and scouts have long lauded his two-way performance. Of course, there are a couple issues - the first being his crash and bang style of play, which could potentially lead to injuries... and the concussion, or, rather, potential for concussions - are always a larger issue after you've had one.
I don't think I have to say much more. Honestly, he may be the first legit reason we've had to be excited in 3 or 4 years. Baertschi will have a long and productive career - and personally, I can't wait for him to get started for real.
This kid is ready for primetime.
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