Defending Big D continues our annual series of looking at top draft prospects that could possibly have their name called by the Dallas Stars at the 2011 Entry Draft. Today, a versatile LW out of Europe...
Team: Portland (WHL)
Born: October 5, 1992
Weight: 181 pounds
Position: Left Wing
NHL Central Scouting: 7th among European skaters
International Scouting Services: 26th overall
The Hockey News: 7th overall
Why the Stars would take him:
Baertschi has a work ethic that is not usually seen in someone only 18 years old. He is constantly trying to improve his game, and it shows on the scoresheet. He put up 85 points in 66 games at the WHL level. That kind of work ethic fits in well with many of the guys currently on the Stars roster. That drive to get better will only help himself and those around him, making him an appealing team first guy.
With his ability to distribute the puck, Baertschi has been known to play not only LW, but also center and RW. That makes him very versatile, and can instantly provide scoring depth at the wing. His hockey sense is very good, and he has the finesse and puck handling abilities to be a dynamic scorer at the NHL level.
Why they would pass:
Baertschi is a small winger without the fast skating ability to make up for it. For a team that is considered to be on the small side, Baertschi doesn't really seem to be the type of player that the Stars would want to draft. Baertschi also is playing with a lot of high-end talent in Portland, with several teammates that are projected to be first and second liners at the NHL level. Would his offensive upside continue without that kind of talent around him? To really seize his full scoring potential, it is thought that he will need to play with a playmaker, whether that be a good center or another scoring winger.
Because of his small frame, Baertschi tends to avoid the physical aspects of the game as much as possible. That's not an aversion you want in the NHL syle of play. With some additional development in the WHL and North American minor leagues, there is some thought that he could learn the physical side to the game as well.
He could be a bit of a project to be NHL ready to adapt his size and lack of physicality to the hard hitting, fast paced NHL style. In the first round a project pick isn't something the Stars can afford. Since he's been projected all up and down the rankings, there is a possibility he drops to the second round, and he becomes much more appealing of a pick.
Scouting report and video after the jump...
What they're saying:
"Baertschi is a finesse player. He has very quick hands and is a deft puckhandler. His radar vision probably makes him the best in the WHL at distributing the puck."
--NHL Central Scouting's Blair MacDonald
"Quick, skilled, very fast type of player . . . I don't think anyone can stay on the ice as long as he does. 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. He works on inside-outside moves, quick shots and little foot movement."
--Portland head coach Mike Johnston
Sven Baertschi Turbo Time (via NHLDraftvideo)