BUFFALO NY - DECEMBER 26: Norman Hauner #10 of Germany tries to evade forward Sven Bartschi #15 of Switzerland during the 2011 IIHF World U20 Championship game between Germany and Switzerland on December 26 2010 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
It's understandable that Flames fans are so protective of Sven Baertschi. He's the first "legitimate" prospect Calgary has had in ages. However, the reaction to a suggestion that Sven could be packaged with more for Jeff Carter was entirely hilarious.
What people often forget, is that while it's fine to get excited about and look forward to the future of young players with the team, prospects, at the end of the day, are still prospects. An NHL career is hardly a sure thing- remember Rob Schremp? 145 points in his last year in junior, and he's currently in the SEL after posting 20-34-54 in 114 games in the NHL between three teams.
So how do we value Sven Baertschi? At what points are we overvaluing and undervaluing him as a player? Is he a future superstar? A third line scrub? While either of these are certainly possible, they're near opposite ends of the same bell curve.
The fact is, SVEN is a fine player. But he's a fine player who's playing a 2+ ppg season after his draft year, dropping him out of the realm of lottery pick superstars who tend to do that, or near that, in their respective draft years. He's also nearly a year older than most players in his draft year, leaving him as more physically capable.
All of this is a long way to say Sven Baertschi is likely an 80 point player in his career year. This is hardly a bad thing, but he's certainly not the Jarome Iginla replacement superstar everyone seems to hope he'll be. And what's more likely is that Sven will end up a 60-70 point two way player. Again: that's entirely fine. But even then, that's still an optimistic look- a lot of things can go wrong in a player's development. Mitch Wahl suffered a nasty concussion and hasn't been the same since. Zach Bogosian broke his leg in a freak golf cart accident and hasn't been the same player since his rookie year.
At the end of the day, no prospect is a sure thing. These are 18 year old kids who aren't even done growing and filling out- there's plenty of room for error. If you can trade a prospect for a high end player who's on the right side of 30, you have to make that trade every time.
And for the record, Jeff Carter has an injury history, but he's hardly Rick DiPietro.