Mar 8, 2012, 11:29 AM EDT
When the Calgary Flames drafted Sven Baertschi 13th overall at the 2011 draft, the expectations were for him to one day play a key role for the franchise.
Well, that day just arrived.
Thanks to a slew of injuries up front, the Flames were forced to recall Baertschi from the junior ranks — Portland, to be specific, where he’s tearing up the Western Hockey League with 33 goals and 61 assists in 47 games.
Yeah, that’s right: 94 points in 47 games. An average of two per contest.
“We’re thrilled to have him in the organization,” Flames GM Jay Feaster told the Calgary Herald. “We think he’ll play here for many years. But it shouldn’t be looked at as ‘Here comes the first-round pick to save the team and lead us into the playoffs.’ Those types of expectations and pressure shouldn’t be heaped on this young man.”
Calgary’s in the thick of a playoff chase, but doing it with with a lineup made of duct tape and string. A staggering seven forwards are currently on the limp — Tim Jackman (upper body), Lee Stempniak (high ankle sprain), Blair Jones (cracked ankle), Mikael Backlund (shoulder), Michael Cammalleri (upper body), Blake Comeau (upper body) and Lance Bouma (upper body).
The Flames hope Comeau, Bouma, and Jackman will return within five to seven days. Cammalleri is day-to-day. Jones has resumed skating, but there’s no timetable for his recovery.
So enter Baertschi, who will make his NHL debut Friday against Winnipeg.
“I’m so excited,” he said. “So pumped. I never heard anything about this being a possibility — it came as a complete shock.”
Of note, the emergency recall means Baertschi must return to junior once two of the injured Flames return to the lineup.
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