Prospect Watch: Patrik Bartosak


RinkRoyalty will be reviewing the progress of Los Angeles Kings prospects every Wednesday as the season continues into full swing.

This weeks edition of Prospect Watch takes a look at goaltender Patrik Bartosak.

Bartosak is a 21-year-old goaltender from the Czech Republic.  He is 6’1, 198 pounds.  Drafted by the Kings in 5th round (146th overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, it was Bartosak’s third appearance; he had been passed over the two previous years.

Few know his name, but there’s already complaints being thrown around about this guy.

Bartosak played his junior hockey in the Western Hockey League (one of three leagues within the Canadian Hockey League) for the Red Deer Rebels.  Bartosak will be one of the last European goaltenders to play in the CHL for the foreseeable future.

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  • In 2013 the CHL’s three major leagues (WHL, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Ontario Hockey League) voted to ban imported goaltenders.  Rationale being Canadian-born goalies are losing opportunities to play at elite levels due to the influx of talented foreign goaltenders.

    After being named WHL goaltender of the year in 2013, Bartosak became the last straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s a hockey issue, so for Canadians it’s a crisis.  He’s too good, so he’s no good here.

    At the end of his second full season with Red Deer’s Rebels Bartosak was called up to the American Hockey League, and L.A. Kings affilaite, Manchester Monarchs for four games.  His record was 3-1, with a .941 Save Percentage (SV%), 1.75 Goals Against Average (GAA) and 1 shutout (SO).

    NHL scouts and executives credit Bartosak for his athleticism, puck tracking ability, and hockey IQ.  However, some dispute Bartosak’s potential to play at the next level due to his unorthodox playing style. But is that really such a bad thing?

    During the 2011 playoffs Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was doubted and questioned about his unorthodox, reactionary,

    Jan 4, 2014; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers goalie Tim Thomas (34) makes a save against Nashville Predators left wing Gabriel Bourque (57) in the shootout at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

    aggressive style.  After a poor performance a reporter asked him during the post-game interview if he would change his aggressiveness.  To paraphrase Thomas’s response, he said, “No I’m not going to change, just because I had one bad game doesn’t mean I’m going to change my whole style.  I’m going to go back and continue to do what’s gotten me to this point.” He went on to win the Stanley Cup, and Conn Smythe that year.

    If anyone thinks unorthodox Czech goalies can’t make it in this league, they should ask this guy.  Just be careful and please disregard the poor choice of music.

    Goaltending is as much about reaction and feel as it is technique positioning.  Today’s NHL discourages unorthadox goalies, so it’s a road less traveled by. But with similar numbers – Hasek’s NHL career SV% was .922, with a GAA of 2.20 –  and similiar stellar play Patrik Bartosak could well be on his way.

    For the 2014-2015 season Bartosak will play with the Manchester Monarchs.  Currently, Bartosak is attending the Kings training camp and started the first preseason game for the Kings prospect team against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday, September 17th.  Bartosak allowed 2 goals over a period and a half of play.  One goal occured while the Kings were shorthanded.  Bartosak still needs to refine his craft, and that will take time for him to develop, but at 21 time is on Bartosak’s side.  At least, for now.

    As a side note, Bartosak is the nephew of former NHLer Radek Bonk.  Definetly one of the best names in hockey, ever.