The Nashville Predators have rewarded Vic Bartley's long steady climb through the professional hockey ranks with a 3-year, one-way contract worth $2 million in total. It's a remarkable achievement for a guy who went undrafted and played his way up through the ECHL, then Sweden's not-so-Elite league before coming back to North America for a job in Milwaukee. Last season, he basically pushed Scott Hannan out of a job here by fitting in well alongside Kevin Klein on the second pair.
As for the future? It looks like he may well get a chance to solidify that position behind Roman Josi, or at worse could serve as a 6/7 guy. Either way it's one less spot available for Jonathon Blum, to whom the Predators must decide whether to extend a qualifying offer soon.
NOTE: A one-way contract means that even if he's sent down to the AHL, he'd receive the same level of pay.
The Preds' press release follows:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed defenseman Victor Bartley to a three-year, $2 million contract. He will be paid $600,000 in both 2013-14 and 2014-15, and $800,000 in 2015-16.
Bartley, 25 (2/17/88), appeared in his first 24 career NHL contests down the stretch for Nashville in 2012-13, recording seven points/assists. He ranked fourth on the Predators in average ice time (19:32) and led Nashville defensemen in plus/minus rating (+2) last season. The Maple Ridge, B.C., native started the 2012-13 campaign with Milwaukee; he led Admirals defensemen and was ranked among the AHL's Top 20 defensemen in points with 26 (7g-19a) 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 spent his first season in the organization in 2011-12, tying for 10th among AHL defensemen, and second among AHL rookie defensemen, in points (39) for the Admirals.
Undrafted, and signed as a free agent on May 24, 2011, the 6-0, 212-pound blueliner spent the 2010-11 campaign with Rogle of Sweden's second division (Allsvenskan), ranking second among league defensemen 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.
Bartley is on Twitter @VicBartley8.