The Nashville Predators training camp will get an unexpected visit from Milwaukee Admirals defenseman Victor Bartley.
Off to Nashville!
— Victor Bartley (@VicBartley8) January 14, 2013
Bartley played five seasons of junior hockey in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers and Regina Pats. In his final season with Regina he was named the team captain, but he went undrafted to the NHL. He played for two AHL teams and the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies before heading overseas for the 2010-11 season.
After one year with Rögle in Sweden’s second-tier Allsvenskan league, where he posted 34 points (11G-23A) in 52 games, he caught the eye of Nashville’s scouts. Last year he signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Preds and then proceeded to finish 4th on the Admirals in points with 39 (9G-30A). He’s currently in the middle of his second full season in the American Hockey League and is on pace to replicate his point production from last season.
So what does Victor Bartley bring to camp? First of all, he’s hungry. At 24 years of age, Bartley is a bit older than the teammates he’s competing with for a spot on Nashville’s roster. And where Jonathon Blum and Ryan Ellis have already spent time on the Preds roster, Bartley is angling for his first NHL job. Regardless of whether he ends up getting the call from the coaching staff or going back to Milwaukee, he’ll increase the level of competition for the last defenseman’s spot. That can only benefit the team as a whole.
Aside from raising the level of competition for the third pair, Victor Bartley also brings a skill set that would mesh well with some of the needs the Predators have going into the season. He’s a smooth skater and puck-mover, as evidenced by his team-leading 30 assists for Milwaukee last season. And at 6’0” and 203 pounds, he doesn’t give up quite as much size to opponents as Ellis or Blum. He can even lay on the big hit here and there:
The Preds will be looking to Hal Gill’s third-pair partner to take up some of those power play minutes that went up for grabs when Ryan Suter left town. If that doesn’t end up being Ryan Ellis, it could be Victor Bartley, who has been playing on the power play unit with Ellis in Milwaukee:
Whether or not he makes the team, Victor Bartley is a welcome addition to the Nashville Predators’ training camp.