The native of Langenthal Switzerland exploded onto the WHL scene as a rookie this year, scoring 34 goals and 85 points in just 66 games for the Portland Winterhawks. Although not the biggest winger at 5’10" and 185 pounds, Bartschi nevertheless finished fifteenth in the league scoring (one place ahead of Flames prospect Ryan Howse).
It should be noted that the Winterhawks were something of a juggernaut in the WHL this season, sporting a host of notable players in Ryan Johansen (4th overall in 2010), Nino Niederreiter (5th overall in 2010) and Ty Rattie (projected first rounder this year). Portland finished first in the Western Conference with 103 points as a result. Their 303 goals was good for second in the conference and their +76 goal differential was amongst the best in the league.
Portland was therefore a nice environment to put up points.This is reflected in the fact that despite his notable 85 point total and impressive PPG pace (1.28), Bartschi accounted for less than 30% of the team’s scoring in the 66 games in which he appeared. This suggests his totals are somewhat inflated by the quality of his club.
In addition, Bartschi is one of the older draft eligibles I’ve come across during my research this season. He was born on October 5th, 1992 making him only four months and one month younger than Johansen and Niederreiter respectively, both of whom were picked in the draft last year. Fellow potential first rounder Ty Rattie was born on February 5th, 1993, making him four months Bartschi’s junior. Other eligibles, like Joel Armia, are even further away than that (May 31, 1993). Age differences of a few months is fairly unimportant in adults and veteran players, but for kids playing against other kids in junior, it can have a much bigger impact.
Those are some of the red flags surrounding Bartschi. On the other hand, it’s hard to ignore his high-end numbers and the fact that he managed 63 of his 85 points at even strength (74%). That’s an extremely high ratio which shows Bartschi wasn’t dependent on special teams for his scoring. Always a good sign.
He also comes with strong scouting reports, like this one from Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus:
Sven is a solid skater who can get to full speed very quickly and while his top speed is good and he has turned around several WHL defenders, he doesn’t consistently maintain an above-average level. His agility is good and he can really make people miss, be it from a standstill or while rushing the puck up the ice. Bartschi has very loose hands that allow him to make rapid moves with the puck and his while I grade his puck skills as above-average, he does flash ability beyond that. His wrist and slap shots are both desirable weapons, the latter of which flashes plus velocity and he can consistently score from beyond the crease area. His physical game is fringe but does show a notable work ethic along the walls but at the moment is nowhere near strong enough to be an effective physical pro.
In regards to his hockey IQ, Sven is regularly trusted with PK duties due to his good anticipation, positioning and stick work. Offensively, he has good vision with the puck, although there are times he tries to go beyond his means with the stick-handling. The skill set is there for him to be a scoring forward with most tools being above-average or around that if he can overcome the physical hurdle which at this point is below fringe level.
High hockey IQ and an impressive offensive skill-set are good tools to have and desirable qualities for an organization desperately looking for both. The only knock appears to be his strength level and physical play (which can be said about most prospects, of course) although that is somewhat more concerning given his relatively advanced age.
Bartschi is a guy who appears inside the top-10 rankings of both ISS and NHL Central scouting. The former has him as the 11th best overall prospect while CS places Bartschi 7th amongst NA skaters. Of the potentials in the Flamesnation poll at right, the only guy ranked higher by consensus scouting services is Mika Zabinejad. Of interest is the fact that CS has Bartschi one place ahead of Ryan Strome, a player who frequently appears in a lot of top-5 picks in mock drafts (ISS has Strome at 9th and redline report ranks him 4th).
Bartschi has arrows pointing in both directions, but the overall package seems strong. His ES scoring is especially noteworthy, although the real test for Bartschi’s abilities will come when some of his high-end teammates graduate and/or if he can handle the physical game at the next level.