The signing of Cam Barker reminds me of the old timey Glen Sather reclamation signings. Slats was always finding players from somewhere, if you went back and found where some of those 80s Oilers came from it would blow your mind. A few of them came straight from hell–not quite, but close.
Some of the best stories surrounding those Oiler teams involved those second chance guys and escapades in training camp. It was a tight ship, but these were kids. Hilarity ensued.
This fall is serious business for Cam Barker. A good season could mean a long term contract and real security for a young man trying to get back; a poor season could mean a trip to the minors or Europe in order to re-set his career and earn another chance in the NHL.
NHL prediction for 11-12: 66, 7-16-23
- What kind of player should we expect? Barker displayed a nice range of skills in junior. Solid defender who could be physical, mobile puck mover and an able shooter. We don’t know what kind of player he’ll be in October, but the tools are there.
- So you have him getting PP minutes? Yes. I think the only way Barker makes sense is if he gets lots of PP time and posts high numbers. It is an “across the board” item for everyone involved: if Barker posts good boxcars, it reflects well on him and Tambellini’s signing of him. I think he’ll get a lot of chances.
- If that’s the case, shouldn’t the numbers be higher? The numbers are similar to Foster a year ago. The idea of RE is to estimate his PP opportunities and what he’ll do with them. Defensemen don’t have as much to do with the PP as forwards, and many times Barker will be the second assist or shoot the puck the gets deflected. So I think the numbers are fair.
- Why did they sign him? Same reason they signed Souray and Foster: they need an answer on the blueline for the powerplay. The three names are not identical player types but do have things in common.
- How good is Barker’s shot? You never know about a player the way you know about a player when he’s played for your team for a year. However, I’d say he has a hard shot but not in the range of Souray or Foster. I’d also say that he hits the target more often than the other two.
- So it’s a good thing they signed him? It’s a reasonable bet for powerplay help, like Foster and certainly a better bet than Souray with that contract they signed him to back in the 00′s.
- Are there advantages to signing him over Souray? Yes, i think so. The term and dollars are better, they hold his rights with this contract and because of the way he’s sliding into town there will be an enormous will to succeed. Also, the PP doesn’t have to be so focused on Barker that other options are passed up during execution. Souray was the Oilers’ Willie Davis.
- Will he be another injury issue? He had a back problem at the tail end of last season, it’s something to be aware of but I’m not certain it’s an issue. Backs are always flaring up, I guess we could count that as a concern.
- Are you warming to this signing? No, I feel the same way now. It’s a risky signing, and there were/are options. If you can honestly say there were no alternatives then proceeding with Barker is a solid way to go. If you could say that a PP shooter was the number one need, then the deal makes sense. However, I don’t think either of those things were true at the time of the deal.
- Okay, what was the alternative? Well, the Oilers do have some options for PP defense. They could run Hemsky or Omark back there along with Whitney; or they could give Whitney and Gilbert the PP pairing (a little risky as the team is now set up I’d suggest) and then there is the young man Petry. It’s true rookies are generally not going to have a positive impact, but Petry isn’t 20 or anything.
- What was the number one need? A top 4 defender at even strength who could also help the PK.
- You’re not happy with the choice of Barker for top 4D? I don’t think he’ll keep it. Based on the information available (and it is covered here) he hasn’t been able to keep the job in Chicago and Minnesota.
- I’m too lazy to click through, what does it say? He never played tough minutes in Chicago or Minnesota, the teams always had a better option–terrible sign for a top pick like Barker.
- What’s the best case scenario? He has a strong season, showing a complete set of skills. He makes it difficult for the Oilers to consider letting him go; and that will be tough because next year’s rfa Oilers include Sam Gagner, Linus Omark, Theo Peckham and Devan Dubnyk. I think it’s too much to ask of him to suggest a successful season against tough opponents in a top 4 role.
- Is this really his last chance Texaco? If he posted another miserable season? I think he’d need to follow that up with a strong showing in a good Euro league to get another one way deal. Defensemen are extremely valuable–witness the contract for Barker after the season he had–but teams are shy about signing people who are coming off two poor seasons in a row. No matter their pedigree.
- Are you cheering for him? Hell yes. Even though he’s in Petry’s way and he’s going to force Peckham into a top 4 role I can’t see one good reason to cheer against the guy.
- PECKHAM in a top 4 role? Stay tuned.