Born: October 22, 1992 (23 years old)
From: Bern, Switzerland.
Height: 5'11" Weight: estimated 190 pounds
Drafted: Round 1, 13th overall by the Calgary Flames in 2011
Traded to Canucks: March 2, 2015 in exchange for a 2nd round pick in the 2015 Draft
Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent
Crappy Times In Calgary
With Calgary being in the dump for so many years, a top 13 pick in Baertschi got the Flames' management and fans stoked for some positivity. Sven was gonna be the next Jarome Iginla and he wanted to be that guy. But his tenure in Calgary was an absolute mess. He struggled through injuries, demotions and many benchings there, as is documented here. So many reasons why he didn't work out there in redneck land. His WHL numbers were golden, as the stats above show......but Calgary and Sven were a divorce made in hell.
A New Life In Vancouver
After acquiring Sven, GM Jim Benning said this about him:
"In this case, we feel like Sven Baertschi is going to be a top-six [forward], NHL player for our team someday, so we weighed getting Sven versus what we would get in the second round with our pick and we made the decision to go ahead and do it," Canucks general manager Jim Benning. "He's a guy that fits our profile. He is fast, he is skilled. ... We are very happy to have him."
Bae scored 2 goals in his first 3 games as a Canuck in 2015, and then was a non-factor in round 1 of the playoffs against his former team in games 5 and 6 with zero shots on goal.
So then came the 2015-16 NHL regular season. I personally wasn't a fan of his. I had given up on him. He seemed like a perimeter player and wasn't really generating anything. He had 3 assists in 9 games in October. 2 goals and 2 assists in 11 games in November. 3 goals and 1 assist in 12 games in December. In those months his ice time ranged from 6:45 to 16:17 per game. He had a 13-game pointless streak in there.
Consistent ice time for Sven started in the new year. In January he scored 4 goals and 2 assists in 10 games. 3 goals and 1 assist in 11 games in February. 3 goals and 4 assists in 16 games in March. He then suffered a lower body injury and missed the remainder of the season. As of January, his ice time average per game did not dip below 11:39. Generally he was playing 15:00 per game on the second line with Radim Vrbata and Bo Horvat. More on that in a bit.
Baertschi did manage 2 goals and 7 points on the power play. He averaged only 1:43 power play ice time per game this season which was 7th among Canucks forwards. Not bad. He absolutely was not used to kill penalties. His even strength time on ice per games played was 11:42, which ranked him 11th among Canucks forwards who played more than 3 games.
15 goals and 28 points in 69 games for Baertschi is more than I expected. I like how he progressed as the year went on. I like how he transitioned from perimeter player to a guy that drove to the net. 8 of his goals were wrist shot. 2 were deflected, 2 were backhanders and 3 were snap shots. His confidence was oozing from him.
-Second on the team (behind Jannik Hansen) in shooting percentage.
-Only 7 minor penalties taken.
-Much like the majority of the Canucks players, Sven doesn't hit.
-He doesn't block shots, also much like most Canucks players.
That -14. Dear god. Line 2 for the Canucks was a minus HELL. Horvat and Vrbata were a team-worst -30 each. Imagine if Sven was on that line all season.... egads.
My biggest question for Sven is....will he bring it after he gets his raise as a restricted free agent? Is he going to show that same consistent intensity next season? Will his production steadily increase?
Here's the perfect example of the Horvat-Vrbata-Bae line working:
The next game:
...aaaand the game after that, he shows off his new crash the net skills:
In front of the net again, this time with a tip:
Yet another prime example of Bae's front of the net presence paying off: