CAM BARKER 11-12: SEE THE SKY ABOUT TO RAIN

The Edmonton Oilers made a bet on Cam Barker. After all the votes are in, this was not a good bet. The question then becomes is it time to cut bait?

Cam Barker 11-12

  • 5×5 points per 60: 0.16 (9th among Oil D)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 1.06 (5th among Oil D)
  • Qual Comp: 8th toughest among D
  • Qual Team: best available among D
  • Corsi Rel: -4.0 (5th best among D)
  • Zone Start: 47.5% (2nd toughest among D)
  • Zone Finish: 46.8% (7th best among D)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 35 shots/2 goals 5.7% (4th best>20 shots)
  • Boxcars: 25, 2-0-2
  • Plus Minus: E on a team that was -26
  1. What do these numbers tell us? They confirmed the evidence from the midwest: Cam Barker is not a top 4 defenseman and his third pairing results suggest he is not an NHL defenseman.
  2. Pretty strong words. We talked about this last summer, and we agreed he should be at a point where he could kill weaker opposition. But it wasn’t there in Chicago, not in Minny and not in Edmonton.
  3. How could these numbers be better? These numbers–added to his other NHL stats–suggest Barker’s career is about to see some time in Europe or the AHL.
  4. “Some are bound to live with less?” Something like that. Barker’s footspeed alone suggests there’s a bit of an issue and his last team bought him out. Not good signs.
  5. Will the Oilers resign him? Well, Steve Tambellini probably doesn’t have enough room to sign him and keep his job, but that’s a guess. NO THEY WON’T SIGN HIM for crying out loud. If the Edmonton Oilers sign Cam Barker to a one-way NHL contract after this season then what does that tell Taylor Hall? Sheesh!
  6. He was hurt. Maybe they’ll give him another look. I just don’t see it happening. Edmonton can’t keep adding these 4′s and 5′s and 6′s and 7′s. Sooner or later, you need some jacks and kings.
  7. He was a good risk. I would refer you to point #2.
  8. He was even on the year. The SP when he was on the ice was .929 and his PDO was 1030. A lot of his number would appear to be luck, and he should have killled the easy opps he was facing. Barker’s lost a lot of what made him a lottery pick, I don’t think there’s a lot of room for debate here.
  9. His zone start was very tough. Well, it wasn’t Belanger or Horcoff tough, but sure he had a tougher ZS. Barker only played 25 games, so we’re looking at about one third of a season.
  10. See? He didn’t get enough of a chance! Well, he got some large numbers on his contract and those dollars badly need to procure a better player. A sure fire, top flight NHL defenseman with a big heart, two good knees, a brain that works and ankles, feet and fingernails that are in working order.
  11. Where’s his next step? I imagine he’ll need to choose between a two-way North American contract and a season in Europe. There’s a chance he could wait until training camp until everything shakes loose, but a training camp invite might be the best he’ll do before then.
  12. He’ll get a contract. Maybe, he’s a former lottery pick and Glen Sather is still in the league. Never say never, I guess.
  13. Who is he behind on the EDM depth chart. Everyone. Cam Barker made $2.25M of Katz money last season and we knew he was a poor risk going in. Signing him to another NHL contract would be unconscionable.
  14. Let’s move on. Why did they sign him in the first place? Looking for a PP defender. Souray, Foster, Barker, it’s getting to be a long list.
  15. Are there any candidates on the horizon? Petry’s a nice choice, but if you’re looking for a mad bomber from the blueline Ryan Whitney is probably the best choice. Corey Power Potterplay can rip it.
  16. There’s not much left to talk about with this player. There wasn’t a year ago, they still signed him.
  17. So, 1-year, $1.8M? It won’t happen, chum.

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19 Responses to "CAM BARKER 11-12: SEE THE SKY ABOUT TO RAIN"

  1. BlacqueJacque says:

    Kinda feel bad for the guy, he seems almost traumatized by how bad he is and the way he interacts with the media is very … fragile. Confidence issues? Who knows.

    The more interesting story is perhaps the lessons the Oilers should take him about defencemen: drafting them high is riskier than drafting forwards. Jack Johnson and Cam Barker both failed to live up to their billings. There are questions about the other Johnson (Erik) as well, whether he’ll ever be a #1 guy. If elite forwards are the kinds of targets you use your sniper bullets on (top 5 picks), defencemen seem to be more spray-and-pray (draft lots, hope some pan out.) Even in the Oilers current organization we have Ladislav Smid, who, while a very effective player right now, faced a long slog to get here and will never live up to the offensive potential he was projected to have.

  2. Bar_Qu says:

    Surprised there isn’t an MCA tribute up yet. Damn shame to lose him this early.

    Which leaves one question: Why do you hate the Beastie Boys? ;-)

    (the preceeding message was all that I could muster to say about C.Barker without neural complications – he’s that bad)

  3. Lowetide says:

    Yeah, sad news. My kids knew about it first, but I suspect I know their music better. Man, they jumped out of the radio.

  4. Clay says:

    The questions that the Cam Barker acquisition raise are worrisome to me. His previous teams both saw him really, really bad. Chicago enough to give up on a third overall pick, and Minny enough to buy him out. Not to mention that his numbers (boxcars and advanced stats, except for one year) clearly showed he was not a player. So does this mean:

    - the Oilers pro scouting department is really that bad at evaluating talent that they thought Chicago and Minny missed it with this guy, he’s a legit NHLer, and Tambo agreed?

    or

    - the pro scouts advised Tambo that he was not worth a look, but Tambo overruled them either because he’s a former 3rd overall pick, he was trying to tank the season, or because he thinks he knows better than his pro scouts?

    Neither scenario looks good on the “braintrust” imho.

  5. "Steve Smith" says:

    Clay,

    I think it’s established that Steve Tambellini has an awful lot of incriminating photos floating around out there.

  6. godot10 says:

    BlacqueJacque:

    The more interesting story is perhaps the lessons the Oilers should take him about defencemen: drafting them high is riskier than drafting forwards.Jack Johnson and Cam Barker both failed to live up to their billings.There are questions about the other Johnson (Erik) as well, whether he’ll ever be a #1 guy.If elite forwards are the kinds of targets you use your sniper bullets on (top 5 picks), defencemen seem to be more spray-and-pray (draft lots, hope some pan out.)Even in the Oilers current organization we have Ladislav Smid, who, while a very effective player right now, faced a long slog to get here and will never live up to the offensive potential he was projected to have.

    I’ll see your ante with Drew Doughty, Alex Pieterangelo, and Victor Hedman.

    Eric Johnson was set back by a serious injury, and Pieterangelo arrived. Jack Johnson played pretty well at the Olympics. Terry Murray wasn’t a very good coach. The final Jack Johnson verdict isn’t in yet.

    Murray played 17 pretty good minutes today. He is being de-risked as we speak.

  7. gd says:

    As bad as Barker was, it was a low risk gamble that the only thing I can blame ST for is paying him too much. If you look at last year’s UFA Dmen signings, there were not a lot of hidden gems and two of the bigger signings (Kaberle and Jovonowski) now have horrible contracts for their teams.

    Now this year better be different as there are at least 15 UFAs who are competent NHL Dmen, and quite a few guys who might be available because they are slightly overpaid like Tyutin and Michelak, so it should be a buyers market.

  8. "Steve Smith" says:

    godot10,

    I’ll defer to Woodguy on this, but I don’t think you see antes.

  9. Clay says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    It would seem so.

  10. BlacqueJacque says:

    godot10: I’ll see your ante with Drew Doughty, Alex Pieterangelo, and Victor Hedman.

    Eric Johnson was set back by a serious injury, and Pieterangelo arrived.Jack Johnson played pretty well at the Olympics.Terry Murray wasn’t a very good coach.The final Jack Johnson verdict isn’t in yet.

    Murray played 17 pretty good minutes today.He is being de-risked as we speak.

    You do bring up good counters, but Drew Doughty has slipped in every year since his breakout, while at the same time proving himself greedy and selfish at his contract negotiations. Pietrangelo went fourth overall, but he was preceded by Zack “trade rumor” Bogosian, and followed by Luke “this black rubber thing, what do I do with it?” Schenn. I don’t like 33% odds for a high pick. Speaking of 4th overall, who’s seen Thomas Hickey? Bueller? Bueller? From the same draft, I’m sure Washington thinks they could have done a little better than Alzner, or at least gone with Shattenkirk or Subban.

    While Hedman is good, he’s not exactly anchoring the Tampa D and this is after 3 complete seasons.

    Defencemen are high-risk picks, period. For where Hedman was drafted, he should be better. Maybe he will be in 5 years, when he’s with another team (following the Pronger career path). Doughty lived up to the hype and promptly began to slip and put on a few non-muscle pounds. I have friends in LA and for most of the season they referred to him as Drew Doughy.

    Then there are the Johnsons, and as you say, one had injury problems (a common problem among blueliners) while the other is still awaiting his verdict, the way Cam Barker was awaiting his in Minnesota.

    In my humble opinion, unless Ryan Murray is the best thing since sliced bread, let’s not gamble. We have the sure-thing in Yakupov (who would find himself on the third line this coming season), and a very intriguing prospect in Galchenyuk.

  11. LMHF#1 says:

    Horrible egg laid by the Oil Kings tonight. Just brutal. The usually amazing D was especially bad, becoming turnover machines and Reinhart turned into a sulking whiner. Not exactly their finest hour.

    Hopefully a solid wakeup call.

  12. Jesse says:

    I wonder if ST thought the team this year had much more all around potential than it did (which seems likely) and thus went out and got Barker as a half-serious FA acquisition so as not to hurt the oilers’ draft selection too much this year. I know he said he didn’t want a lottery pick this year, but when you know you’ve got a top 4 that’s looking sick and you get a dodgy reclamation project to be the cure it’s got to be a bit of a tell doesn’t it? Ultimately I’m wondering, was Barker honestly expected to anything at all for the top 4, and if not, was that the plan?

  13. Ryan says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    Agreed.

    “He was the third overall pick in 2004 – the guy taken after Ovechkin and Malkin. There’s untapped potential there!”

    If Barker could out skate Strudwick, he might be able to carve our a career.

  14. stevezie says:

    I liked the Barker signing as a gamble, but looking at the money and lack of other signings the team didn’t see it as a gamble, they though they were getting their other top 4 d-man.

    As far as the picks go, I’m going to paraphrase my own rambling ON post- just don’t miss. This organization can afford to not get the “best player”, but we can’t afford to not get a good one. Nail is the surest thing (as was Hall).

  15. stevezie says:

    gd,

    After this playoffs I’d say Michalek is available, but I’d call that move plan B. Or C. Some guys are great shot blockers because the other team always has the puck when they’re out there.

    Your overall point is well-taken though, this should be a good summer to improve the D regardless of who we draft.

  16. godot10 says:

    stevezie,

    So it turns out Z. Michalek was all Dave Tippett. Why would you want a dud defenseman on a big contract?

    Ditto, Paul Martin was all Jacques Lemaire.

    Turns out, Ray Shero is not a genius. He has big money tied up in two dud stud D’s.

    Which is why it is better to build everywhere, including D, as insurance in case your free agent white whale defensemen (Ballard, Michalek, Redden, Martin, Souray) turn into duds.

    De-risk building the defense by building from within enabling one to be patient and selective in white whale hunting for the defense.

    Ryan Murray, please.

  17. Jesse says:

    godot10,

    Im not sure if I understand, are you saying that Ryan Murray is less of a risk than a proven FA defenseman? I think you’re right that FA signings don’t always go over well, but Ryan Murray seems to have double the mystery — he’s practically a FA that hasn’t proven himself in the NHL yet, so he’s less likely to pan out than a FA that somehow went awry.

    In the greater context of things however, I agree. Building up many good D prospects in hopes a couple of them will be legit is cheaper and ultimately ensures you more long term success. Which is sort of what the Oilers are doing, albeit without having that potential stud in the mix as far as we can tell.

    I’m not against taking Ryan Murray, but I certainly don’t think he’s less risky than a proven FA.

  18. stevezie says:

    godot10,

    Basically, everything Jesse said. I agree with you on each point but don’t draw the same conclusion. We have a stable of fine young D. I’d love to take Murray, but not at the expense of an elite forward. I’m no scout, but I can read their reports, and right now Murray is projecting to be good, but not elite.

    As far as Pitts goes… wow. What happened? I watched each game and I’m still confused. That team was a winning with both Crosby and Malkin out last year. This year they were gold with Crosby gone. Their regular season pk wasn’t just acceptable, it was really really good. What the hell happened? How could Martin and Z have been that bad all year without submarining the entire season?

  19. jfry says:

    godot, we get it, you want murray. it doesn’t make everyone else wrong, though. or you, correct, for that matter.

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