Sven baertschi Comparables



Since the latest Sven Baertschi update here on FN, the Flames best prospect has gone another tear, scoring eight points in his last three games. The outburst has inched back near the 2.0 PPG mark and he is currently 14th in the WHL scoring despite playing about 20 less games than most of his peers.

I noted some of these accomplishments last night on twitter and HP’s Corey Pronman responded:

That made me wonder about other potential comparables for Baertschi over the last few years.

So I took a look:

Player Drafted PPG
Rob Schremp 25th 2.54
Wojtek Wolski 21st 2.29
Dave Bolland 32nd 2.2
Corey Perry 28th 2.17
Steve Downie 29th 2.04
Brayden Schenn 5th 1.96
Sven Baertschi 13th 1.94
Claude Giroux 22nd 1.93
Bryan Little 12th 1.88
Jordan Eberle 22nd 1.86
Emerson Etem 29th 1.78
Joey Hishon 17th 1.74
Clarke MacArthur 74th 1.72
Nazem Kadri 7th 1.66
Bobby Ryan 2nd 1.62
Luke Adam 44th 1.6
Patrick O’Sullivan 56th 1.57
Eric Fehr 18th 1.56
Cody Hodgson 10th 1.54
James Neal 33rd 1.44
Quinton Howden 25th 1.42
Logan Couture 9th 1.4
Tyler Ennis 26th 1.39
Cal Clutterbuck 72nd 1.37
Greg Nemisz 25th 1.37
Mike Richards 24th 1.35
Nick Foligno 28th 1.33
Mitch Wahl 48th 1.33
Brandon Dubinsky 60th 1.31
Kyle Beach 11th 1.26
Brad Marchand 71st 1.24
Blake Comeau 47th 1.23
Austin Watson 18th 1.2
Devin Setoguchi 8th 1.18
Wanye Simmonds 61st 1.16
Zach Hamill 8th 1.12
Ryan Getzlaf 19th 1.06
Michael Grabner 14th 1
Andrew Ladd 4th 0.69

I limited the inquiry to forwards who played their 19-20 year old seasons in the CHL. It’s tough to compare  across leagues, so that exempts guys in college hockey or across the pond. I included some recent Flames picks (Nemisz, Wahl) for context.

In junior it’s important to match guys to their age cohort since the difference between 16 and 21 year old players is a vast one. Baertschi is technically in his sophomore season in the WHL (which is usually 18-19 for many players), but he has a late 1992 birthday (Oct.5/1992) meaning this is his 19-20 year old year.


– Keep in mind we’re excluding anyone who made the NHL as a teenager, since we can’t really compare their scoring rates. Crosby, Stamkos, Tavares, Bergeron, Jordan/Eric Staal and Perron were guys who were in the show by the time they were 19, for example, so they don’t appear here.

– Like in the NHL, PPG pace is a good but nowhere near perfect proxy for talent meaning it’s not an exact predictor of future results. We obviously don’t know the context of each players output – quality of teammates, how he was used by the coach, percentages, shot rates, etc. – so keep that mind when looking at the list. We’re working with a broad brush here.

– Related: Dave Bolland, Corey Perry and Rob Schremp played on a freakishly dominant London Knights team during their junior days. The Knights leaned very heavily on their top-end players and tended to crush their opponents, so their numbers are somewhat skewed. Rob Schremp is one of the the reasons we now look at ES/PP splits in prospects as well – a huge portion of his points came with the man advantage which obviously isn’t quite as meaningful as ES scoring.

– Not sure how to explain Steve Downie. He was a merely capable scorer until his 19-20 year old season where he just blew up. He only played 45 games that year, so maybe we’re talking an aberrant hot streak.

– Aside from some guys who haven’t made the leap yet (Howden, Hishon, Kadri, Etem, etc.) we can see most of the guys listed are capable or better NHLers. There are few exceptions (*ahem* Patrick O’Sullivan) but it’s a decent list nonetheless.

– If we limit things to just the WHL, Baertschi comes out on top with Brayden Schenn over the last 7 years or so. Schenn’s season was also a shortened one (27 games) and he played on a very good team (Saskatoon Blades). A couple of caveats to keep in mind.

– The most compelling comparable for Flames fans is probably Claude Giroux. A 22nd overall pick by the Flyers, Giroux is a similar build to Baertschi (5’11" 175lbs when he was drafted) and also plays the wing. He scored at almost the exactly same rate as Baertschi in his 19-20 y/o season in the QMJHL and has since developed into a very nice hockey player.

Giroux spent half of his pro rookie season in the AHL where he scored a point-per-game before being recalled by Philly. He’s been an NHLer ever since.


Obviously we’re still only talking about 30 games for Baertschi and it remains to be seen how things end up by the end of the year. The early returns are really encouraging though.

His split of even strength and powerplay scoring is strong (40/28 or 59% at ES) so fortunately we’re not talking about a Rob Schremp situation. Baertschi also accounts for more than 44% of Portland’s scoring when he’s in the line-up, so it’s safe to say he is a prime driver of results for the Winterhawks. For context, Greg Nemsiz never even crested 30% for the Spitfires in four seasons.

We’ll take another look at these comparables in the summer when we have Baertschi’s entire season to consider.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I’ve been following the draft closely the last couple of years, and last year’s draft was deeper than it’s given credit for (that being said only time will tell how these boys grow into men)…that being said, Sven looks to be turning into quite the talent. He’s the only guy the Flames can really consider a future top player in the NHL. Flames can only hope to get as good a talent this summer…if they keep their pick, and don’t win the cup (haha, I had to say it).

  • ChinookArchYYC

    So what you are saying is we can compare him to Claude Giroux at this point(at the same age).

    If Baertschi turns into the player that Giroux is today or even close I have to think thats a HUGE win for the Flames even if it takes a few solid years for that to happen. Giroux is 2nd in league scoring, AVGs 15min ES, 4min PP, 2:30min SH, and only starts in the Offensive Zone 47% of the time.

    Yeah if Baertschi turns into that I’m MORE than thrilled.

  • everton fc

    Good piece on Baertschi. Much thanks.

    How’s Tyler Wotherspoon doing? Ferland’s got 31 goals… Nice to see.

    Not related: TSN hints that the Sabres may be considering shopping Robyn Regher before the deadline. He’d be a good fit in Philly.

    • supra steve

      Exactly, and a large part of the reason why many (myself included) would be thrilled if we were able to shop Iggy for some youth/picks. He has been an elite player for Calgary, but his best days are behind him and the best way he can help us in the next few years is to move on. If a deal like Iggy for Schenn etc. is out there (and I’m not saying that it is), how can you not pull the trigger if you are Feaster?

      • supra steve

        There’s a chance that you could get a player that maybe replaces Iginla’s input or maybe plays on your first line. But you are just as likely to pull a Thrashers or Oilers, How’d those Hossa and Smyth trade work out? How those prospects and picks working out for them now?

        Sure you could end up like the Bruins and end up with a Tyler Seguin and Hamilton this past year, but I don’t think the odds are in our favour.

        If Iggy is traded he’s traded, but I’m definately not in the FOR camp, not in the against camp, but I’d rather he finish his career here.

        • Arik

          Not disagreeing with you, but I sure would feel a lot better if they get him resigned to cap friendly new 5 year extension this summer. We cant afford to lose him like Dallas lost Richards. I cant imagine he doesnt want to win a cup & that wont be through a rebuilding Calgary. Who knows, maybe Feaster cant get more now than what he figures he can get this time next year as a rental. If Hemsky can get a 1st & a prospect, I think Iggy can get a lot more.

          • RexLibris

            We’ll see if Hemsky nets that much. He might if he’s packaged with Peckham, but a lot of it depends on the GM doing the dealing. How on earth did Burke convince Poile, a normally shrewd GM, to give him Franson?

            Iginla ought to be worth more, but I still want to see a larger sample size of Feaster’s trade record with the Flames. To date, his record in moving bodies while in Tampa Bay was nearly abysmal.

            I think it is far more likely, especially given what the ownership has said, that Iginla is kept in Calgary and signs an extension to finish off his career. My only hope is that it is a sincere contract, not some wink-wink, nudge-nudge contract that will go until he’s 44 years old to keep the cap hit down.

            As for Baertschi: those numbers look good, but he’s still no ’83-’84 Ray Ferraro (192pts in 72 gp). 😉

          • RexLibris

            Oh, I know it was a salary dump to try and clear up enough room for Rinne and, eventually, Suter. But it seemed like the deal to move Lombardi had Franson in as a sweetener when most teams would have had to move things the other way to acquire a decent defensive prospect like him.

            Burke always seems to make those trades. Beauchemin for Gardiner, Lupul and a pick? Even the Pronger trade, Lowe basically forced Burke to give him the extra 1st rounder in 2008 if he won the Cup and if he hadn’t we wouldn’t have Eberle. But all in all, Burke seems to win more trades than most. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m pretty certain it isn’t charm and warm personality.

          • RKD

            Exactly, there are examples going the other way too. It’s a matter of smart scouting and managing.

            Given what teams spend on player salaries and the stakes involved, it always amazes me that most NHL teams might employ 2-4 (at most) pro scouts. My thinking would be closer to around 10, plus several more just for the AHL.

          • RexLibris

            I think part of that may be the “too-many-cooks” factor in involving so large a staff. Also, that is a sizeable workforce not only to afford, but to manage for the head of pro scouting. I agree that with the direction the NHL has taken post ’06 putting more resources into scouting at all levels (including scouting coaches at various levels) is a key factor in an organization’s ability to compete and win.

            I don’t know how large a geographic area most pro scouts cover, perhaps they can each cover eight to ten teams effectively, in which case, four would be a decent number and provide some overlap.

            As for the AHL, I’ll have to use recent Oiler examples of how some talent is found: Corey Potter used to play for Tom Renney back in New York and when Tambellini was looking this off-season to replace Strudwick and Montgomery Potter’s name came up because Renney had always kept tabs on him. Another example is Lennart Petrell who was signed as a UFA out of Finland. Steve Serdachny, the Oilers’ skating coach, had seen him play over there and commented on his skating style being NHL-quality. Add some video to that and then you’ve got a scouting report on a useful penalty killer and depth winger that came from an untraditional scouting source.

            I have to think that those examples aren’t uncommon in the NHL.

            As for Burke, it isn’t just scouting and managing. Sather used to fleece guys in trades at least once a year, but he was always so crafty and tight-lipped about it, the opposite of the bellicose Burke. No, I think he has a secret stash of embarrassing polaroids somewhere. Yeah, that must be it. 😉

          • ChinookArchYYC

            Yeah, but the cost is a drop in the bucket compared to even one bad contract at the NHL level.

            I just alaways find it weird that a bunch of scouts show up and watch a player for 2 games right before they want to trade for him. To me, the book shouls be so complete and up-to-date that that isn’t even necessary.

        • supra steve

          From my perspective, we would not be trading Iggy for contract reasons (like with Smyth,etc.). We would be selling off a depreciating asset, one that at this point in time has very little chance of helping our team win a Cup. I keep going way back to when we traded Kent Nilsson to the North Stars and got a draft choice that turned into Joe Nieuwendyk. We later shipped Joe out to the Stars and got young Iggy. Time to cash our chips in again. We have been on the other side in the past as well, shipping a young Brett Hull to St. Louis for some pieces that helped us win our only Cup. So these deals can be win/win. I, on the other hand, see no way to “win” by keeping Iggy and allowing his trade value to depreciate to nothing at retirement.

  • Greg

    So bartschi should be somewhere between Nemisz and Giroux. Ok then. 😛

    Cool to see the list of comparables actually, quite a few names in there that would be an asset on any team. I’ll be happy if he ends up in the middle of the pack. (ecstatic if he’s closet to the top but still trying to temper expectations)

  • RKD

    We really can’t grasp anything on Sven until he plays a full NHL season and then how he progresses.

    The 1.94 is promising and so is 40 even strength points.

    All we can do is hope for the best.

  • RexLibris

    “Wanye Simmonds”

    Nation-eudian slip?

    Otherwise, I see we could have Patrick O’Sullivan, Claude Giroux, or something in between.

    This is why I don’t follow much on the prospects, just too easy to get your hopes up and have them crushed.