A skilled defenceman who learned his trade while growing up in Maple Ridge will be earning an NHL-sized pay cheque over the next three years.
Victor Bartley signed a three-year, $2-million contract with the Nashville Predators, the NHL club's president of hockey operations/general manager David Poile announced last week.
According to the Predators website, Bartley will be paid $600,000 in both 2013/14 and 2014/15, and $800,000 in 2015/16.
"I'm thrilled that we were able to agree on a three-year deal," Bartley told The TIMES. "At two million, my agent and myself agreed that was a fair offer going into these next years and were thrilled to sign the contract. The staff and players are top-notch and I absolutely love the city of Nashville, so it was a no-brainer."
The 25-year-old Bartley appeared in his first 24 career NHL contests down the stretch for Nashville this past season, recording seven assists.
Bartley has blossomed from an undrafted free agent signing with the Preds to ranking fourth on the team in average ice time (19: 32) while leading all Nashville blueliners in plus/minus, with a plus-two rating.
Profiled in the March 21 TIMES [Bartley sticks in Music City], Bartley started the season with the Preds' American Hockey League affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals.
He led all Admirals defencemen and was ranked among the AHL's top 20 defencemen in points with 26 (seven goals, 19 assists) in 54 games at the time of his last AHL regular-season game, and represented the club at the 2013 AHL all-star classic.
Bartley had two days of workouts outs and practices to prepare for the first game of his NHL career, Friday, March 8, 2012 against the Edmonton Oilers.
"The biggest difference is how professional things are. How guys carry themselves, how hard they work, and how they prepare," Bartley told The TIMES this past March, a couple of weeks into his NHL career. "You see why the top players are the top players. It's a dream but it's also your job and guys understand that."
Bartley spent his first season in the Predators organization in 2011/12, tying for 10th among AHL defencemen, and second among AHL rookie rearguards in points (39) for the Admirals.
The 6-foot 212-pound Bartley spent the 2010/11 campaign playing in Sweden with second division Allsvenskan, ranking second among league defencemen in points and assists, and tied for third in goals (11g-23a-34pts, 52gp).
He played his amateur career with Kamloops and Regina of the Western Hockey League from 2004-09, amassing 168 points (36g-132a) and 466 penalty minutes in 336 games.
Looking ahead to next season, Bartley says he is looking to solidify himself as a top-four NHL defenceman.
"My strengths are my skating, my ability to jump up in the play at the right times, to create that fourth man offence, and my physicality," Bartley said.
He added that being focused and disciplined with his on-ice play such as moving the puck, playing hard and physical, and using his instincts are the keys to his success.
"My training and nutrition are the foundation which will allow me to do all those right things on the ice," he said.
Bartley is staying close to home during the summer months, training in Maple Ridge Monday to Friday, while practising yoga a few times a week.
"First and foremost, I'll be going into camp in the best shape of my life," Bartley predicted. "I'm already ahead of the training curve by my body composition and strength, two things I've really focused on this summer.
My trainer and myself are so dialed in right now with the intensity level of our workouts [and] nutrition, and getting the proper rest has been key for me this summer."
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