Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports
The Vancouver Canucks have locked up their final restricted free agent player, Swiss-born winger Sven Baertschi, with a one-year, one-way deal the club announced on Tuesday.
Baertschi didn’t accept his qualifying offer by the July 15 deadline, and was reportedly told to wait on the club clearing salary cap space. With the consummation of the Brandon Sutter trade earlier on Tuesday afternoon, it would appear that young Bae’s wait is over.
The total value of the deal is $900,000 according to Elliotte Friedman (by way of the great Taj1944). That’s about what you’d expect, and continues the Jim Benning era trend of locking up pre-arbitration restricted players to cheap one-year deals in July.
The 22-year-old forward was acquired in trade with the Calgary Flames at the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline, and generally played pretty well for the Canucks down the stretch and into the postseason. He also starred with the Utica Comets on their run to the Calder Cup Final.
A skilled albeit somewhat undersized forward, Baertschi has generally managed to produce points at an auspicious rate in his 69 games in the NHL, although his two-way game will need some work and polish. Based on his production at every level, it would seem that he’s a decent bet to turn into a reasonably productive top-six forward with mostly offensive value – with comparable upside to fellow WHL alumni Joffrey Lupul and Radim Vrbata.
It’s expected that Baertschi will lineup in a depth scoring role for the Canucks next season, and will surely be counted on to help replace some of the even-strength offense the club lost when goal scoring forward Shawn Matthias signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs as an unrestricted free agent.
With Baertschi’s deal signed the Canucks now have 12 forwards signed to one-way contracts, plus Bo Horvat, who is a shoe-in to make the team. It would seem as if the club’s forward group is essentially in place then, barring something unexpected like one of Cole Cassels or Blair Jones or Alexandre Grenier or Jake Virtanen forcing the coaching staff’s hand with a stellar performance at training camp.