Sven Baertschi (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Sven Baertschi never quite fit in the plans for the Calgary Flames, but the 22-year-old winger has signed a one-year, one-way deal with Vancouver that should give him a good shot at sticking with the Canucks. In 69 NHL games, Baertschi has 10 goals and 30 points.
Sven Baertschi has suited up in a mere 69 NHL games since being selected 13th overall in the 2011 draft, but he could more than double that total next season.
The Vancouver Canucks announced late Tuesday they have signed the 22-year-old Baertschi to a one-year, one-way deal that will pay the Swiss winger $900,000 next season. The money is notable if for no other reason than it’s actually a cut in salary from Baertschi’s entry-level contract, on which he had an NHL salary of $925,000.
To say Baertschi has had a turbulent tenure in the NHL would be an understatement. Since being taken by the Calgary Flames in the 2011 draft’s first round, Baertschi has bounced back and forth from WHL to NHL to AHL and back again. Last season alone, Baertschi suited up for the Canucks, Flames, Utica Comets and Adirondack Flames, playing no fewer than five games with each club. The hope now is that he can find a permanent place with the Canucks.
What went wrong in Calgary for Baertschi was simply a matter of him falling by the wayside. Other prospects who the Flames coveted more or who possessed a different skillset than Baertschi stepped in and took the spot he was supposed to be battling for. When the Flames traded Baertschi at the past trade deadline, it was a chance for him to revive his young career in a new locale.
Throughout his career, Baertschi has been a steady producer in the AHL and, really, his 10 goals and 30 points in 69 NHL outings isn’t all that bad. But there has always been the feeling that Baertschi had more to offer, and that’s why he never became a fit with the Flames.
Following the trade to the Canucks this past season, Baertschi proceeded to score two goals in three games and suit up for two post-season games. In AHL Utica, Baertschi was a point-per-game player for his 15-game stint with the Canucks’ farm club, scoring eight goals and 15 points. In the AHL playoffs, Baertschi added another eight goals and 15 points in 21 games, including five goals with the extra man.
On a one-way deal, Baertschi won’t be sent down without the Canucks giving him every shot to make it, but now he’s guarded against losing his NHL spot entirely. He’ll have to clear waivers and it might not be easy for a 22-year-old with some upside to do so. Needless to say, 2015-16 might be the most important season of Baertschi’s career.