For now, Baertschi will have to make due dominating the AHL for the Abbotsford Heat. So far, through two games, the dynamic Swiss forward has been able to put up four points (two goals, two assists).
With the skill that he possesses in the offensive zone, do not be surprised if his play stays pretty consistent all year. After all, a young player like himself is still trying to impress Flames personnel at the AHL level, in case the lockout is lifted and a NHL season resumes.
Last season, Baertschi split time between the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL) and the Calgary Flames.
With the Winterhawks, he was able to produce at an exact two points-per-game clip. Through 47 games with the junior club, he was able to post 33 goals and 61 assists for a total of 94 points. That total was good enough for Baertschi to be 10th in WHL scoring, even though played in not nearly the same amount of games as the others ahead of him.
Baertschi was called up to the NHL by the Flames in mid-March of last season. He spent five games with the club and was able to show how his impressive scoring capabilities would carry over to a professional career. He was able to tally three goals and hopefully was able to change the way people perceive him.
For many, they look at Baertschi and consider him too small to become a top-notch forward in the league, believing that bigger and stronger defenseman will be able to control him. However, Baertschi is still young and has time to fill out his frame. Although, maybe a little short by the new NHL standards, he still stands at 5'10".
Even though the Flames do not have much to look forward to in terms of the future, Baertschi is definitely a bright spot. Hockey's Future has the young forward listed as the 13th-best prospect in the league.
His time spent this season with the Abbotsford Heat will help in his development. It gives Baertschi time to adjust to a faster game, as well as play against bigger and stronger players, which, so far, is something he has been able to do quite well.
Baertschi is the future of the Flames' offense, and he'll be a leader for the team in the years coming. He battles hard and his offense is spread out. He can set up a player just as well as he can put the puck into the back of the net.
Flames fans should be real excited about the growth of this young player. A year spent this season in Abbotsford could very well make Baertschi the most feared offensive player on the Flames once next season rolls around.
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