Vancouver Canucks: Sven Baertschi aims for 20 goals

VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 28: Sven Baertschi
VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 28: Sven Baertschi /

Here at The Canuck Way, we’ll take an in-depth look at the Vancouver Canucks players as we near the 2017-18 season. Up next is Sven Baertschi, who looks to hit the 20-goal mark for the first time.

Often lost in the dark 2016-17 Vancouver Canucks season was the continued development of Swiss forward Sven Baertschi, who notched 18 goals and 36 points in 68 games last season. Both were career bests for Baertschi, who would have likely hit 20 tallies if he didn’t miss 14 games.

Nonetheless, Baertschi has come along nicely for the Canucks. Drafted 13th-overall by the Calgary Flames in 2011, Baertschi never reached his potential and was dealt to Vancouver for a second-round pick in 2015.

It wasn’t just 2016-17 that saw Baertschi develop his game. He scored 15 goals in 69 games in 2015-16, despite not playing on the top line nor having a great centre to feed him the puck.

Baertschi will earn just $1.85 million in 2017-18 before becoming an RFA, so he could himself up nicely for a big payday if he can take more strides in 2017-18. With new head coach Travis Green expected to hand out more responsibility to his younger players, Baertschi should see plenty of first-line minutes with Bo Horvat.

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Another overlooked part of Baertschi’s game in 2016-17? His solid puck possession numbers, posting a 50.5 Corsi For Percentage last season — the best of his career.

According to, the Canucks ranked 26th in Corsi For (47.92 percent) last season, so Baertschi will be called upon to help the Canucks turn their puck possession game around.

All of the makings are there for Baertschi to score 20-25 goals for the Canucks in 2018.

His continued improvement and ability to finish plays make him one of Vancouver’s most intriguing players heading into this season.

Ready for bigger things

Baertschi was oh-so-close to scoring 20 goals last season, but he’s going to have yet another chance to reach that mark in 2018. Given how his scoring totals and puck possession numbers have gotten better each season (yes, he’s young), one has to believe he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet.

Assuming Baertschi and Horvat skate on a line together, both players should be able to set career highs in both goals and points.

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We’ve seen the chemistry between them before, and the two youngsters should only make it stronger. just look at this video of them cycling the puck against the Montreal Canadiens:

You have to think that Green will let the two youngsters play together, and putting them on the top line should be a no-brainer. We’ve already seen some nice plays from both Horvat and Baertschi. So let the two continue to grow as a pair.

Projecting the stats

As is the case with many of Vancouver’s young players, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about Sven Baertschi having a career season in 2017-18. A new head coach, his consistent improvement and a true No. 1 centre in Bo Horvat add up to a promising year for the former Flames’ first round pick.

If Baertschi can stay healthy and play at least 75 games, then nothing’s holding him back from improving off of 2016-17. Here are my projected stats for him this upcoming season:

Goals: 23

Assists: 22

Points: 45

PIM: 46

+/-: -1

Corsi For %: 51.0

Next: Prospects Ranking Top 20: #6 Nikolay Goldobin

Not exactly a superstar-like season, but you will see an even better version of Sven Baerstchi in 2017-18. He’s shown that he is truly capable of playing in the NHL after disappointing in Calgary. As long as all goes as planned, Baertschi should be among the top goal-scorers on the Vancouver Canucks in 2017-18.

*All stats courtesy of Hockey Reference unless otherwise noted*