Editor's Note: While prospect overviews heading into the 2011 NHL Draft will be filled with the usual Canadians and Americans, I'm more curious about the "non-traditional" hockey countries that have only one or two prospects in the draft's top 60. Last time we looked at a kid from Frans Nielsen's Denmark. This time we're doing one from Streit-and-Nino Country.
Can an NHL team have too much Swiss? I don't expect we'll find out, but it is fun that another Swiss forward prospect is in the Nino Niederreiter territory of this year's draft: WHL rookie playoff scoring leader and Western Conference Rookie of the Year Sven Bärtschi (or Baertschi, as he's listed by the NHL).
Sven Bärtschi will hopefully never be mentioned with Sven Butenschon except in this sentence. (Although can't you just hear Mike Francesca saying sometime in 2015, "I hear this Butchenson kid is pretty good.") At 5'10" he isn't as big or out-of-nowhere hyped as Niederreiter was last year, but Nino's success and the shorter Bärtschi's great rookie year surely had people thinking along geo-physical profile lines.
They're both left-shooting wingers who had big years for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, and unlike Nino Bärtschi's hot playoffs continued into the WHL final. I'll stop with those forced geo comparisons now though, and just share what people are saying.
One more note though: As with Nino, Bärtschi was playing with some serious talent in Portland with Ty Rattie and Ryan Johansen.
Projections: Draft Rankings from People Who Watch Teens. A Lot.
ISS - 13
CSS - 7th (North American skaters)
THN - 8
From the NHL:
Quotes: Words Written to Sound Unlike Similar Words Written about other Players
Central Scouting: "very quick hands and is a deft puckhandler. His radar vision probably makes him the best in the WHL at distributing the puck"
His coach: "We have to tell him to get off the ice 45 minutes after practice ends. He stays out there forever to work on his game."
The Scouting Report (12 - mid-term)
Does a good job of going to the net and playing hard despite being undersized. Has a good touch around the net and has found a lot of chemistry with linemate Ty Rattie this season. Defensive zone play needs some improvement...
...a strong skater, that has a decent shot, very good vision and hockey sense, is a dynamic puckhandler, dependable at both ends of the ice, and has a very good work ethic.
Sportsnet [video]: "Similar skillset to Washington's Nicklas Backstrom."
January interview with Hockey's Future:
HF: Do you always play left wing?
SB: I’m more on the left side. When I have to I can play center or right wing.
HF: You were running the power play from the half wall at practice today. Do you do that in Portland as well?
SB: No, I’m more in the slot. Johansen’s a great passer. I just have to look for room. He plays the puck to me and I can shoot from the slot every time.
Yahoo Buzzing the Net interview:
"When I came over here I changed my game from the European game to the North American game," Bartschi said. "I like the style of the North American game because its fast, physical and exciting."
Unfortunately, his favorite team is the Penguins. That simply won't do.
He Can Do the Silly Stuff, Too
A silly cool shootout trick move:
A nice mix of skills, good work ethic, and appetite for the North American game. At 5'10" there is that size concern, although he seems to be a more durable "stocky" build according to descriptions. Whoever gets him, it sounds like he could be a fun player to watch five years from now.