With their first fifth round pick (146th overall) on Sunday, the Los Angeles Kings drafted Czech import goaltender Patrik Bartosak of the Red Deer Rebels, a WHL club owned and coached by Brent Sutter, who also serves as the general manager. Red Deer has had success in the last 10 years at developing goalies, with CHL Goaltender of the Year awards distributed to Cam Ward (2004), Darcy Kuemper (2011) and Bartosak, who was presented with the award in March.
The 2013 NHL Draft marked Bartosak’s third year of draft eligibility (though just his second season in North America), and following a season in which he produced a 2.26 goals against average and .935 save percentage while earning the number one job for the Rebels, the Kings chose to add him to their goaltending pool, which no longer has the services of Jonathan Bernier (traded) and Christopher Gibson (never signed).
Bartosak, on leaving the Czech Republic to play major junior hockey in North America:
“Three years ago I didn’t want to come here and play in North America, but then I got invited to the U-18 World Championships and I saw those guys from the U.S. and from Canada playing, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I probably need to go and play over there’ because if I want to play in the NHL, I have to do something more. So, I decided to come here and it turned out well. It’s been an awesome experience, and I’m just enjoying it. It’s just awesome. The junior lifestyle, it’s just unreal.”
On whether he has a relationship with Darryl Sutter:
“No, I haven’t met Darryl. I just know Brent. Brent – I know him well. He’s our head coach. He’s an awesome guy and a great coach. You can tell he’s got some experience and his organization is really good.”
On aspects of his own game that he’s trying to refine:
“I think I still need to work on some point shots and screening. When I get screened, sometimes I get in trouble, but I’ve been working on that with a goalie coach in Red Deer. So we’re trying to develop that.”
On whether he’s seen much of Jonathan Quick:
“Oh yeah, I’ve watched him in the playoffs a lot. I was in the Czech Republic, so I had to wake up at three in the morning sometimes, but I watched it. He’s just unreal. His quickness and how fast he is – it’s just amazing, and I’m looking forward to seeing him and meeting him.”
On any goaltenders that he’s enjoyed watching:
“I think it’s Henrik Lundqvist from the Rangers. I really like his style. I don’t know if I play like him. I don’t even try – but I just like the way he plays and how he’s big in the net.”