— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) January 8, 2013
You have got to be shitting me.
This move is a headshaker. First of all, Cam Barker isn’t very good. This is evidenced by the fact that he was one of the worst defenseman on last season’s Edmonton Oilers and was recently released from an AHL tryout by the Texas Stars. He’s not good enough for the Texas Stars, but the Canucks think he can add to their blueline depth?
I’m not going to make too much fun of a training camp invite – much less one that only "may" happen – since it probably doesn’t mean all that much. But I’m not even convinced that Barker is an upgrade over Derek Joslin (who wasn’t even invited to training camp and remains in Chicago) or Marc-Andre Gragnani (who the Canucks allowed to walk, unqualified, this past summer). I mean, at least Marc-Andre Gragnani can stick in the AHL…
Read past the jump.
Some quick background on Barker. He was once a highly touted young defenseman who was the first person drafted after Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin back in 2004 (this "pedigree" probably explains why he keeps getting opportunities like this one). Barker even had a forty point season one year in Chicago earlier in his career.
However, the Blackhawks obviously didn’t think much of his game and he was the first victim of their epic cap-crunch in 2010 when he was dealt to Minnesota before the playoffs for Nick Leddy and Kim Johnsson (who only ever played 8 games for Chicago). Oh boy did Bowman the Younger hose the Minnesota Wild in that one. Nick Leddy? Are you kidding me!?(*)
(*) Just for fun, here’s Hockey Wilderness defending the Cam Barker for Nick Leddy trade in the summer of 2010.
So last season in Edmonton, Cam Barker played in 25 games while actually logging a lot of minutes in those contests for the Oilers. In those minutes, Edmonton got absolutely buried though Barker posted an even plus/minus rating thanks to a 1030 PDO. Yep, Cam Barker needed to get extraordinarily lucky to post an even rating. The season before that he was similarly buried in Minnesota, and the season before that he was a liability at 5on5 in both Chicago and Minnesota.
It’s tough to imagine that Cam Barker can manage to make the Canucks, because it seems pretty clear that he isn’t really an NHL defenseman. Best of luck to him though.