A hockey player’s worth is often measured in statistics. But it’s what a player does without the puck that can be the difference between winning and losing. Rourke Chartier has done both this season.
The rookie centerman has produced on the scoresheet and has been relied on in all three zones. Chartier is seventh on the team in points (14+15=29), fifth in goals, T-eighth in assists, and T-fifth in plus/minus (+12).
“Rourke’s got something you just can’t teach, and that’s a high hockey-IQ, and he’s not afraid to go in the dirty areas,” said Barracuda Assistant Coach Ryan Mougenel. “His greatest asset is his puck protection, he’s great at shielding pucks.”
Chartier was selected by the San Jose Sharks in the fifth round (#149 overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft. And like so many later round Sharks selections, Chartier is quickly developing into a draft-day steal.
The Barracuda have had ten players recalled to the NHL this season. Chartier has not been one of the ten, but it has allowed the 20-year-old to assimilate to the pro game and play in all situations.
Since the acquisition of Buddy Robinson from the Ottawa Senators organization, Chartier, Adam Helewka and Robinson have formed an overwhelming line that combines high-end skill, speed, and relentlessness.
“He’s a really good two-way player, and he’s not afraid to get in on the forecheck,” said Barracuda forward Buddy Robinson. “We’ve had instant chemistry because we play a similar style. It really helps when you start with the puck because he’s winning those big face-offs.”
Chartier's game mimics his approach and attitude. The former Kelowna Rocket’ will do anything to win. Whether that’s killing off penalties, getting to the paint or digging pucks out of corners. The only goal is to win.
“We’re on a roll here, and it’s been a ton of fun. It’s not all about stats, but it really feels good to contribute in that way, when the opportunity presents itself” said Chartier. "As long as I'm helping the team win then I'm doing my job."
Chartier wore the ‘A’ for two seasons with the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Kelowna Rockets and appeared in 230 games over his four-year junior hockey career. Chartier led the Rockets to a WHL Championship in 2015, Memorial Cup finals appearance and was named the CHL Sportsman of the Year. So winning is not something new for the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native.
Mougenel continued, “I see a lot of consistency in his game, he’s not always going to be rewarded on the stat sheet, but his greatest strength for us is how well he plays away from the puck.”