2011 Draft Watch: Sven Bartschi

The 2011 draft is a little more than a month away, and we all know that Gordie Clark, Glen Sather, and the collection of Rangers scouts are holding many meetings to discuss potential players on their draft boards. The Rangers have the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft, and while most of the prospects on people’s lists will be gone (Nugent-Hopkins, Larsson, Courturier, etc), there are a good amount of prospects that would help the Rangers in the long run.  Initially, we looked at Niklas Jensen, who I think would be a great fit for the Rangers.  Yesterday, we looked at Jensen’s teammate Boone Jenner.  Today, we look at a player that is likely to be gone by the time the Rangers select, but is still high on everyone’s list in Sven Bartschi of the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL.

When looking at Bartschi’s stats, it’s easy to see why everyone is so enamoured with the Swiss winger.  In his rookie season with the Winterhawks, the 5’10”, 185 lb LW put together a phenominal season.  He scored 34 goals and added 51 assists for 85 points in 66 regular season games.  In the playoffs, which is a true test for rookies, he showed he was able to continue his production in a high stress environment, putting together a line of 10-17-27 in just 21 games.  Playing with with 2010 lottery picks Ryan Johansen (4th overall – Columbus) and Nino Niederreiter (5th overall – Islanders), Bartschi fit in perfectly and showed that he has the talent to keep up with those two skilled players.

Bartschi’s offensive talent is very apparent.  The kid has almost everything necessary to become an offensive force in the NHL.  The kid is just a pure sniper with an innate ability to put the puck in the twine.  He has a pure shot, possibly one of the best in the draft, great hockey sense, and a great attitude.  He’s more of a finesse player, shooting from the outside.  He has great speed as well.  Bruins Draft Watch noted that the kid is always smiling, and just loves to play the game of hockey.  He’s a good character kid, something that the Rangers have been looking at during the draft.  He has a very high ceiling, which could lead to his getting drafted higher than expected.

There are two factors that may hold Bartschi out of the top ten, and may help him slide ot the Rangers at #15 overall.  The first is the obvious one, his size.  At 5’10” and 185 lbs, Bartschi is a very small hockey player.  He will always be viewed as small, despite the fact that small and skilled is becoming the norm in the NHL.  However, his size does play a role in his style, as he is not very strong on the boards like some of the other smaller forwards in the draft, and tends to avoid the high traffic areas.  The second, and possibly most glaring hole, is that he is not the best skater for someone of his talent level (Note: speed does not correlate to skating ability).  Skating is something that can easily improve (see: Boyle, Brian), and it should be noted that the kid is just 18 years old, there is plenty of time to develop his skating while playing for a strong program in Portland.  But, that is why they call them prospects, and not sure-things.

Like most prospects in the draft, there are a lot of things to like about Bartschi, and a few things to be wary of.  Bartschi is a great kid, and definitely has the attitude and work ethic to succeed at the NHL level.  However, his reluctance to go to high traffic areas does worry me more than his skating issues.  He can get by at the lower levels by playing his perimeter game, but NHL goalies are likely to stop his perimeter shots.  He will need to adjust and start going to high traffic areas, which means getting significantly stronger.  If he can do that, he is going to have a long, successful NHL career.  I think he will be drafted in the top-ten, and while Bartschi is high on my list, he is definitely more of a project pick than a Jensen or a Jenner.

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  • If he slides all the way down we will be forced to take him but I don’t believe this happens. Everyone has us projected at taking a Center but i’m hoping winger as we can use a couple snipers as we have mostly playmakers.

    • I don’t bother with those projections. Did anyone project them taking McIlrath last year? How about Kreider the year before?

  • Dave

    Not sure where you got your information on Bartschi but it is not right at all. The kid I saw all season is yes offensively gifted but he is a whole lot more.

    Bartschi is more than willing to go into traffic to make a play. In fact in the last game I was at, it was Bartschi out fighting 2 Kootenay players in the corner to make a great backhanded centering pass setting up a goal.

    The kid goes into the crease/slot areas to make plays without any fear. I would take him in a second if he fell to 15 as he can be used to play any of the forward positions.

    He is also very adaptable able to play with finesse or physical players and do well.

    For most of the season they had him with Ty Rattie (the Ryan Callahan of this draft) and Craig Cunningham. In the playoffs Bartschi in my book was the best player for the Winterhawks.

    What I really liked about him was his consistency as his longest scoring drought was 2 games which only happened twice.

    • and I left out that he blocks shots and plays defense.

      The skating is an issue that just about every prospects struggles with but it is easy to fix.

    • I’m not saying he’s a terrible player who won’t go into traffic areas. I just said that he tends to shy away. I generally get my info from Bruins Draft Watch, as they are far more detailed than most of the other scouting reports. It’s just a difference of opinions.

      I would love for him to fall to #15, he has great skill.

      • Dave
        I am sorry I understand people have different opinions but this description of Bartschi that he tends to shy away just does not describe him at all.
        That is not at all the kid I saw this season and I saw a lot of him since is just a 90 minute drive for me

    • Yup. That’s why they are prospects, and not sure-things. They are so young that there’s always time to progress or regress.

      • I asked 5 different scouts about Hugh Jessiman and I got 5 different answers and none of ’em were right. It’s a tough process. Gotta take all these reports with a grain of salt.

        • Hugh Jessiman is the reason why we didn’t win a cup within the last 5 years. It’s not that it’s so much him, it’s the fact we didn’t take someone else. That is our fault completely. Everyone else in that first round became an all-star BUT him.

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