Another record close to broken
It’s a relatively safe assumption that Patrik Bartosak will enter the Red Deer Rebels franchise record book for the second time in a manner of weeks when his club concludes WHL regular-season play this weekend.
Bartosak, who last month broke Shane Bendera’s long-time mark for most saves in a season and has continued to add to the record, needs just 50 saves to catch Mike Whitney as the goaltender with the most stops in franchise history.
Considering the Rebels host the Eastern Conference front-running Edmonton Oil Kings Saturday and then visit the provincial capital for a rematch Sunday afternoon, Bartosak is almost a lock to surpass Whitney’s mark of 4,542 saves, which he established during four seasons with Red Deer — from 1994-95 through to ‘97-98.
Whitney, for the record, appeared in 162 regular-season games with the Rebels. Bartosak has been between the Red Deer pipes for 143 WHL outings through roughly two and a half seasons.
If and when Bartosak slots into another franchise history category, he’ll join a fairly notable group, including many names from the team’s first five to 10 years in the league.
For starters, local product Jon Zukiwsky owns the mark of most games played — 301 during five seasons from ‘93-94 to ‘97-98 inclusive. Zukiwsky was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 1995 but never played pro hockey.
Arron Asham, who was with the Rebels from 1994 to the spring of ‘98, owns the Red Deer franchise record in three categories — goals (131), assists in (161) and points (292). A talented and tough WHL forward, Asham’s offensive skills never translated to the top level, but the Manitoba product did enjoy a 13-year NHL career as a hard-nosed winger and is currently playing out his pro career with Hartford of the American Hockey League.
Speaking of tough and sturdy, Pete Leboutillier established a franchise mark for penalty minutes that has survived the test of time. Leboutillier chalked up 743 minutes during his four winters in Red Deer, was drafted by the New York Islanders in 1993 and the Anaheim Ducks in ‘95, and played 35 NHL games with Anaheim and four seasons in the AHL and one in England before retiring due to a knee injury.
A six-foot-one, 200-pound eight winger, Leboutillier’s time in the pro ranks is profiled in the book: 24 Bittersweet Tales of Short Major League Sports Careers.
While Bartosak has posted seven shutouts this season, he won’t surpass Darcy Kuemper’s career record of 19. Bartosak has a total of 13 — two more than former runner-up and current Carolina Hurricanes stopper Cam Ward — heading into the final two regular-season games of his WHL career.
Kuemper, now with the Minnestoa Wild, also owns the Rebels’ regular-season record of 13 shutouts and the lowest goals-against average (1.86) in a single season, both established during the 201-0-11 campaign. Also on his WHL resume are Red Deer career marks for most games played (178) and minutes played (10,086) from the 2008-09 season through to 2010-11, and WHL and CHL goalie of the year awards in 2010-11.
Ward chalked up more overall wins than any other Rebels stopper — 101 from 2000 through to the 2003-04 campaign.
Regarding single -season Red Deer records, the late B.J. Young sniped a single-season best 58 goals in 1996-97. Drafted by Detroit in 97, he played one NHL game and seven seasons of minor pro hockey before being killed in a 2005 automobile accident.
Other Rebels single-season marks are held by the following: 2000-01 WHL scoring champ and CHL player of the year Justin Mapletoft (most assists, 77; most point, 120); Shane Bendera (most games played, 69); and Leboutillier (penalty minutes, 300).