At the start of the Vancouver Canucks’ season there was hope that Sven Baertschi, the young forward who the team got in exchange for former prospect Hunter Shinkaruk, would be able to continue where he left off as a first-line forward.
Heck, Baertschi was even listed as one of the NHL’s nominees for the All-Star Game fan vote.
The season went a bit off the rails from there, as the forward suffered a fractured jaw in a game versus the Calgary Flames. He missed just under a month, registering 11 points in 22 games after coming back and being bumped off the top line at times.
This was going to be a crucial stretch for the Canucks to evaluate what they have in Baertschi, as he becomes a restricted free agent in the offseason.
Alas, he is out for the season after an Alexei Emelin hit separated his shoulder during Friday’s game against Nashville.
Is he more than a half-point per game player on a team’s number one line? You’d have to hope so if you’re the Canucks. But he hasn’t proved that so far and Vancouver shouldn’t be paying him as such just yet. At this point, he’s not going to top last season’s output (although he does have a better points per game percentage this year), and questions about his future with the club have to be taken seriously.
A bridge deal seems likely for Baertschi, who made $1.85 million against the cap this year. A raise is going to happen, but it better be in the $3 million range at the very most, for the team’s sake.
What do you think, is Baertschi a top line player that the Canucks should invest long term in?
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