Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sven Baertschi: 4 Autographed Cards

Another great return today:
Like the Tom Draper return from two days ago, this one took 62 days to get back to me; indeed, I had sent Sven Baertschi these four cards on March 13th, 2014 - care of the Abbotsford Heat where he spent the latter half of the season after the Calgary Flames fired GM Jay Feaster and revisited their immediate and near-future plans - and received all of them back, signed in black sharpie, on May 14th (2014).

The 13th overall pick of 2011, Baertschi (spelled Bärtschi in Europe and international play) is a huge part of the Flames' future, along with Mikael Backlund. A four-time member of Team Switzerland in Juniors play, he had just been named to the mens' team when he sustained a season-ending injury last weekend. This is the second major injury to occur for him in international play, as he had also suffered a concussion at the 2012 World Juniors.

In 2012-13, he tallied 26 points in 32 AHL games, and 10 more in 20 games at the NHL level; things were a tad harder for him in Calgary this year (11 points in 26 games), but he gained his composure and confidence back in Abbotsford and finished with 29 points (on 13 goals) in 41 games, once even being named Player Of The Week.

He is a top-6 forward (left-handed-shot winger) who has deceptive speed yet also likes to slow down the play, and he is getting really good at playing without the puck as well, making him the ideal modern-day top-liner, a guy who will eventually be counted upon for some 50-60 points while usually finishing in the plusses, and playing 18 to 20 hard minutes against tough opposition.

I don't know that I would have chosen him ahead of Nathan Beaulieu (17th, Montréal Canadiens), Mark McNeill (18th, Chicago Blackhawks), Oscar Klefbom (19th, Edmonton Oilers) or Tomas Jurco (35th, Detroit Red Wings), but he was definitely first-round material.

I had custom cards that I made of him that I could have sent, but I didn't want to overdo it, either, and I'm very satisfied with the return I did get, particularly in that it shows him with two of the Flames' uniforms. First, here's the white (away) uniform:
Celebrating an important milestone, the card on the left is from Panini's 2012-13 Score set, and is card #FG13 of the (very interesting) First Goal sub-set; on the right, lined up for a face-off, is from Upper Deck's 2013-14 Series 1 (card 170).

And here's two of the now-alternate jersey, the red 1980s classic uniform:
They are both from Panini's 2013-14 Score, card #62 in the set - except the one on the right is the 'Gold' variant that replaced the 'glossy' ones a few years ago. I strongly prefer the gold ones.

I watch most of the Flames' games, and they're already really fun to watch because they always give a consistent effort, play very physically, and try to stick to the fundamentals; once their talent level evens out, though, within maybe 3 years, they'll really be something to watch. And Baertschi will likely be smack-dab in the middle of it.

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