WHL NOTEBOOK — Barteaux’s game continues to grow with Rebels

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Dawson Barteaux was told his junior career would fly by.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/01/2019 (1355 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Dawson Barteaux was told his junior career would fly by.

The Red Deer Rebels defenceman, who hails from Foxwarren, turned 19 on Saturday and is in his third season in the Western Hockey League. After representing his province, attending a number of Hockey Canada events and being selected in the sixth round of the 2018 National Hockey League draft by the Dallas Stars, he’s realizing just how quickly time goes by in junior hockey.

“I remember when I was 16 and guys would tell me to hold onto your career, it flies by,” Barteaux said. “I honestly can’t believe I’m already in my 18-year-old year. It’s crazy. All the things I’ve done … I don’t look back on it very much but it’s pretty crazy all the experiences I’ve had, being drafted, and going to the U16 and then U17 and U18. You don’t really think about it but I’ve done a lot in those three years and they’ve just flown right by. It’s pretty cool to look back on it. I’m grateful for it all.”

Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun Dawson Barteaux of Foxwarren has started all 41 games for the Red Deer Rebels this season, recording five goals and 24 points.

Barteaux, who had a can’t-miss tag applied to him when he was still in minor hockey, was part of the best bantam draft class in Manitoba history in 2015 when he was picked 14th by the Regina Pats, one of six players to go from the province in the first round.

Barteaux was just finding his footing with the Regina Pats, playing 18 games there as a 16-year-old, when he was part of a huge deal in January 2017 that included forward Lane Zablocki, a conditional third-round bantam draft pick and two first-round picks being sent to Red Deer for forward Jeff de Wit, defenceman Josh Mahura and a conditional third-round pick. Barteaux played in just 42 games that season.

The six-foot-one, 188-pound defender said a big part of the continuing development in his game is simply confidence. When he played in Regina, he wasn’t getting much opportunity on a stacked squad that went to a WHL final.

“Once I got to Red Deer, they gave me more of a role and I got to build some of that (confidence),” Barteaux said. “Over the years I’ve been getting more confident for sure, and I’m feeling like I’m kind of a go-to guy I guess you could say.”

In his first full season with the Rebels last season, Barteaux played 64 games, scoring three goals and adding 29 assists. He earned 22 penalty and had a plus-minus of -16. This season, he has five goals and 19 assists in 41 games, with two penalty minutes and a plus-minus rating of -2.

In 148 career games, he has eight goals, 52 assists and 30 penalty minutes.

Expectations rise for every player as they get older. It’s no different for the defenceman, who holds himself to a high standard.

“I put pressure on myself,” Barteaux said. “I can’t handle all the pressure I put on myself. My expectations are high, and I have a team with me that really helps me out and makes me look maybe better than I really am. I’m pretty thankful for everything, and I have a coaching staff that has been supporting me since day one, and they keep pushing me and pushing me.”

He now has a second source of inspiration and learning.

After being drafted by Dallas, he attended rookie and main camps. He gained a lot of experience and is grateful for the opportunity.

“It definitely helps, just seeing some of those pros and seeing what they do to get ready for games,” Barteaux said. “I tried to pick up on little things that they do in their game that I can put into mine to make me just a little bit better because the game is filled with all of those little details. I’m trying to pick up a little bit, but not too much where I totally change my game. I just want to input a few them to make myself a little bit better.”

The club delivered the same message to him that NHL teams often give to their prospects: Get bigger, get stronger and continue to focus on the details. He said they’ve been checking in with him all season to monitor his progress and offer any advice they can.

Barteaux is also enjoying a lot of team success in Red Deer.

The Rebels made a massive move on Nov. 30, bringing in forwards Brett Davis and Cam Hausinger for River Fahey, Austin Schellenberg, Justin Svenson, Chase Bertholet and five bantam draft picks. While Barteaux was sad to see his roommate Schellenberg traded, he felt it was a show of confidence in the team by owner and general manager Brent Sutter.

“Trading is part of the game but it’s a hard part of the game seeing guys you’ve become brothers with take off,” Barteaux said. “It was really exciting because they’re both great players and obviously that faith from Brent was a huge confidence builder for us as a group I think.”

He added it’s nice to have the trade deadline done, saying the Rebels knew they had a good team but weren’t sure what might happen at the last minute.

The top of the Central Division has been a three-way dogfight between the third-place Rebels (25-13-2-1), the first-place Edmonton Oil Kings (24-14-4-3) and the second-place Lethbridge Hurricanes (23-12-4-4). Red Deer is two points behind Edmonton, but has an incredible four games in hand, and is one point in arrears to Lethbridge with two games in hand.

“Every night is huge and those two points are huge with our division being that tight,” Barteaux said. “It’s fun playing in a division like that where it’s so tight and everybody is so close and so competitive. It’s exciting for sure but it’s going to take everybody in the room doing little things and getting all the details right and sacrificing your body. It’s going to be like playoff hockey for the whole year.”

Unfortunately for Barteaux, he’s made his last trip to play hockey in Manitoba this season, barring an unlikely playoff meeting. He was swarmed by a huge group of friends and family on the concourse after his team’s 5-3 victory over the Wheat Kings at Westoba Place on Friday. The Rebels made their first visit on Nov. 9 — a 6-3 Brandon victory — and will play host to the Wheat Kings on Jan. 30 and March 8.

“It’s hard to even put into words,” Barteaux said of playing in Brandon. “Coming home after being away from home when you were younger is a crazy feeling. Seeing your family and seeing all your friends and all the people you haven’t seen in so long is pretty great, especially when you get to play a game and they get to watch you. It’s super exciting, especially because even those fans who are Brandon Wheat Kings fans know who you are most likely because you’ve played there your whole life and are from around there.

“It’s fun coming back to Brandon. They’re always fun games.”

ACADEMIC PLAYERS: Brandon Wheat Kings rookie defenceman Jonny Lambos was named a WHL academic achiever on Tuesday along with Brandonites Daemon Hunt of the Moose Jaw Warriors and Tristen Robins of the Saskatoon Blades. Each team in the East Division had one player recognized for reaching their full potential in their educational programs while balancing WHL commitments for the month of December.

Lambos, an 18-year-old from Winnipeg, is excelling in Grade 12 at Crocus Plains with high marks in Chemistry, English and Pre-calculus. Hunt, 16, is in Grade 11 at Vanier Collegiate and is studying English Language Arts, Health Sciences, Christian Ethics and Mathetmatics. Robins, 17, is in the FLEX Program at City Park Collegiate taking Grade 12 courses in Accounting, Pre-calculus and English.

CHL HONOUR: Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants is the Canadian Hockey League’s player of the week. The 17-year-old defenceman had three goals and three assists in a pair of games to go along with his plus-minus rating of +6.

» pbergson@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @PerryBergson

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