The Calgary Flames dispatched of the Edmonton Oilers fairly easily tonight, but the real story for the fans was the appearance of top prospect Sven Baertschi for the first time in 2013. The 2011 first-round pick has not seen much action in his first two seasons, but the Flames are expecting big things from the 20-year old out of Switzerland.
However, the organization is being patient with him and making him earn every minute. Tonight was his first action of the season and he played on the fourth line, appearing in just five minutes of action. Head coach Bob Hartley doesn’t plan to throw him too much, yet.
“We can’t make him bigger than the game,” Hartley said. “Obviously, I don’t want to put too much pressure on his shoulders. We’re going to groom him the right way. We’re going to groom him the way we took care of all the other young players who played under us.
Before being drafted 13th overall in 2011, Baertschi had 85 points in 66 games in the WHL. He’s explosive offensively and is a solid two-way winger. His potential is sky high and the fans have to be patient as the team brings him along. It will pay off in the end and he’ll likely be a star in the NHL sooner rather than later. That said, Hartley is not going to give him special treatment, as he shouldn’t.
“If he plays good, he plays. If he doesn’t play good, well his ice-time is going to be cut like everybody else … So there’s one rule for everyone.”
Calgary got off to a poor start to the season; tonight’s win gives them their first, bringing their record to 1-2-1. They played some tough opponents though and the first part of their schedule is pretty brutal. They just missed the playoffs last season. Maybe Baertschi coming along is just the piece they need to take that next step.