2015 ROOKIE CAMP: Frozen Royalty’s coverage of the Los Angeles Kings’ 2015 Rookie Camp begins with a story on the development of goaltending prospect Patrik Bartosak.
EL SEGUNDO, CA — With his team leading the Utica Comets in the 2015 Calder Cup Final series, 2-0, Manchester Monarchs goaltender Patrik Bartosak, a Los Angeles Kings prospect, was sitting on the bench during Game 3 at Utica on June 10, 2015, watching intently, but pretty much minding his own business.
But just 7:51 into the game, starting goaltender J.F. Berube, also a Kings prospect, went down with what turned out be to a high ankle sprain, and suddenly, Bartosak, an American Hockey League rookie, found himself thrust into the spotlight, not to mention the pressure cooker—he had to backstop his team to a championship.
What was going through his mind when he realized that he had go into the game so suddenly, in a championship playoff series?
“Nothing really,” said Bartosak, who was selected by the Kings in the fifth round (146th overall) of the 2013 National Hockey League Entry Draft. “Just go out there and do my best to help the team win the championship, and that’s what we need. I tried to be as ready as I could throughout the whole playoffs, and I think the hard work paid off. We got the win [in the series].”
Already down 1-0 before he replaced Berube, Bartosak and the Monarchs lost Game 3, 3-2. But that would be the last time the 22-year-old, 6-1, 193-pound native of Novy Jicin, Czech Republic would have to play catch up to the Comets for the rest of that series.
“I got into Game 3, after J.F. went down with a lower body injury, and the guys helped me a lot,” Bartosak noted. “I got great support, and we got the win. It was a great feeling, for sure.”
The Monarchs went on to eliminate the Comets in five games to win the 2015 Calder Cup Championship. Bartosak ended up playing in three games in the 2015 AHL playoffs—all in the Calder Cup Final—earning a 2-1 record with a 2.11 goals-against average (GAA) and a .930 save percentage.
Fast forward to the Kings’ 2015 Rookie Camp, which began today at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California, Bartosak has his first season in professional hockey under his belt, and it turned out to be a championship season.
When asked what’s different about him, as a player now, compared to a year ago, Bartosak shrugged.
“I don’t think too many things are different,” he said. “Maybe I’m a little bit more experienced now. Maybe I know what it takes to be a champion now. But I don’t think too many things changed from [a year ago].”
Last season, Bartosak played in 28 regular season games, earning a 13-8-5 record with a 2.14 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. He did not get into as many games as the Kings wanted, but as Kings goaltender coach Bill Ranford explained, that’s a good problem to have.
“I think we would’ve liked to have seen him get into more games, but J.F. played so well, J.F. earned it,” said Ranford. “That’s how it goes when you’re battling for a spot.”
“I think it was a great developmental season for [Bartosak],” added Ranford. “We wanted him to go in there and have a good rookie season, and I thought he accomplished that, getting into  games, and the best part was [him] getting that playoff experience at the end, and being on the ice when they won the Calder Cup.”
“The way Barto developed throughout the year was really important. He cleaned up his game, and became more consistent in his habits. That’s what we were trying to do.”
Ranford elaborated on what they were looking for from Bartosak last season.
“Just the consistency in his game,” said Ranford. “We want him to be more consistent in his depth, we want him to be more consistent in his habits, make sure that he was post-saving on every play, and just having more detail to his game. With that consistency, the results were there.”
Having played into mid-June, the Monarchs players had a very short summer, with little rest and lots of working out, and Bartosak was no exception.
“You know what? If the reason for a short summer is winning a championship, I’ll take it, for sure,” he noted. “But it was a hard summer. A lot of workouts, not a lot of break. But like I said, I was happy with the way it went.”
“I tried to workout more than I usually would during [this past] summer, so the workouts were harder and the breaks were shorter,” he added. “Other than that, I don’t think it affected me very much.”
Looking ahead, Ranford issued a challenge to Bartosak.
“What’s important for him is to push whomever his partner is,” Ranford emphasized. “If that’s going to be J.F. this year, I want him to push J.F. to play at the top of his game. If [Bartosak] does that, that’ll give him an opportunity to play more.”
Given the challenge issued by Ranford, Bartosak indicated that his all-around game must improve in the coming season with the AHL Ontario Reign.
“At the stage where I’m at right now, I need to get better at everything,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any particular area. I need to get better at everything, and be the best teammate I can be.”
“I just came here to be my best and to push everybody.”
Frozen Royalty’s Patrik Bartosak Coverage
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