Minnesota Wild Sign Forward Christoph Bertschy


With all due respect to Nino Niederreiter, the Minnesota Wild have not had a lot of success drafting players from Switzerland.  The Wild couldn’t entice Julien Sprunger (4th round, 117th Overall in 2004) to sign, and Minnesota didn’t even bother trying to sign Julian Walker after drafting him in the 6th round (162nd Overall) in 2006.  So it may not seem all that unreasonable that many Wild fans’ expectations of Christoph Bertschy where pretty low when the team drafted him 158th Overall in 2012.

More from Prospects

Low expectations are hardly unusual for a player drafted in the 6th round.  The Swiss National League has a reputation of providing decent salaries, a player-friendly schedule with minimal travel when compared to professional leagues in North America and Russia.  It’s no wonder that many Swiss-born players would rather enjoy those ‘home’ comforts than what could be far less glory, less salary to chase an NHL dream.  It is why a lot of NHL’ers whose careers have stalled made their way to Switzerland such as former members of the Minnesota Wild like Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Robbie Earl, Chuck Kobasew and Adam Hall.  So it is a testament to the Minnesota Wild’s management to convince Bertschy to give North American hockey a shot by signing a 3-year entry-level deal.

So what should Minnesota Wild fans expect from the 5’10”, 185lbs right-hand shooting center?

"“Bertschy is a speedy center with good vision and a hard shot. Could improve his stickhandling skills. Lacks size. Can appear selfish at times.” ~ Ulf Andersson, Elite Prospect Scout on Christoph Bertschy in 2013."

The question coming into this season was whether Bertschy could use his skill to be a set up man as well as a scorer.  He made some steady improvements, showing more patience as well a concerted effort to use his teammates more.  His stickhandling also showed some improvement, and I would say his frame is very similar to Mikael Granlund but he has a little more explosiveness in his first step.  Dustin Nelson once wrote about Bertschy’s intent to sign two weeks ago.  The only question the Minnesota Wild have left is whether he can be as productive playing in North America that he was in his native Switzerland.  This YouTube clip is a pretty nice illustration of the speed and skill Bertschy possesses.

What will Bertschy’s role will be?  I think he’ll be given a chance to be a part of the Iowa Wild’s top 6 which was in need of more skill and scoring.  Iowa was the 2nd worst team offensively in the American Hockey League, and I’m sure Tyler Graovac and Michael Keranen would welcome the help.  His terrific speed will help back off opposing defenses in a way Iowa hasn’t seen since the graduation of Jason Zucker.  No doubt he will have to adjust to the faster pace of play on smaller North American ice, as well as the greater amount of physical play.

Live Feed

NY Islanders: Is this the week we learn if Zach Parise is retiring?
NY Islanders: Is this the week we learn if Zach Parise is retiring? /

Eyes On Isles

  • 2023 Central Division Preview Series: Minnesota WildBlackout Dallas
  • NHL 24: Predicting the highest rated players at every positionApp Trigger
  • How Tough Will The Central Division Be For The Hawks?Blackhawk Up
  • Minnesota Wild: Goalie Controversy With Gustavsson and Fleury?Puck Prose
  • NY Islanders teammates letting Zach Parise do his thing as team awaits his decisionEyes On Isles
  • Does he have a chance to make an impact at the NHL level?  I think Bertschy is a long way off before he starts challenging for a spot on the Wild.  I think in many ways he has a path kind of like Keranen’s, where some felt he had maybe a shot to make the 4th line after having a strong season leading the Sm-Liiga in scoring.  Bertschy was the 38th leading scorer in the Swiss National League, but he must prove he can be productive in the AHL before he gets a real shot at making an NHL roster let alone the Minnesota Wild.  Overall, the chances are slim.

    An unknown in this situation are Bertschy’s expectations.  Making the jump from the comfortable confines of the Swiss League is a big deal.  Would Bertschy be ok with an AHL apprenticeship?  Swiss-born prospects like Roman Josi, Yannick Weber and the Wild’s Nino Niederreiter all had to spend significant time in the AHL before they found their way onto NHL rosters.  Bertschy would be wise to stay open-minded about a minor league assignment if that is what the Wild choose to do with him.  The Wild brought back Cody Almond from the Swiss League and after he failed to make the big club he asked to be released back to play in Switzerland.

    Hopefully for Bertschy and the Wild, it will be a prosperous relationship.

    Next: Iowa Wild Season Review

    More from Gone Puck Wild