The Victor Bartley
signing improves the organizational depth on defense; a more experienced pro defenseman option for the AHL with the potential to contribute in the NHL. Bartley has been on the Preds radar for some time; the North American scouts eyed him during his Junior career in the WHL. His strong play in Sweden this year allowed the European scouts to get a similar feel for his game.
The Preds defensive corps at the NHL level appears well settled for 2011-12 and with top prospects Mattias Ekholm
& Ryan Ellis
and possibly Taylor Aronson
or Charles-Olivier Roussel
joining the pro ranks next season (to go along with Roman Josi
who made his North American debut this season), defenseman leadership and veteran savvy will be at a premium in Milwaukee next season. Brett Palin (played 80 regular season games + all 13 playoff games), Aaron Johnson (played 72 regular season games + all 13 playoff games), and Grant Lewis (played 47 regular season games + 11 of 13 playoff games), three veteran AHL defensemen in Milwaukee last year, are all unrestricted free agents this summer. The 23-year old Bartley appears a safe bet to fill the role one of those three provided last season in Milwaukee. Being a left-handed shot also helped Bartley’s cause; the Preds system is heavy on right-handed shooting defensemen, so adding a lefty helps balance the assignments.