It’s time to go home for Sven Baertschi, after being limited to the minor leagues once again. The 29-year-old winger has signed a three-year deal with SC Bern of the Swiss National League, taking him back to Europe after more than a decade in North America.
Selected 13th overall in 2011, Baertschi was, at the time, the second highest drafted player ever from Switzerland (only behind Nino Niederreiter, picked fifth the year previous). There were high hopes for the skilled winger, who had burst onto the CHL scene with an incredible rookie season with the Portland Winterhawks. His following season was so good that when the Calgary Flames faced injuries partway through the 2011-12 season, he was an emergency recall all the way from junior. In a five-game showcase less than a year after he was drafted, he scored three goals and it appeared as though the Flames had a potential superstar talent on their hands.
Unfortunately, that success didn’t continue. Baertschi wouldn’t break that three-goal mark in any of the next three seasons in the NHL, as he bounced up and down from the minor leagues. A move eventually took him to Vancouver, where he experienced some modest success with the Canucks, but still nothing compared to that initial excitement.
This season, on a one-year deal with the Vegas Golden Knights, Baertschi had 28 points in 44 games for their AHL affiliate, and suited up just once at the NHL level. A three-year deal overseas likely seals the end of his NHL career, meaning he’ll finish with 138 points in 292 regular season games.