The Curious Case Of Cam Barker

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy. All rights reserved.
Photo courtesy of Steven Christy. All rights reserved.

Friday night, following the Texas Stars 3-1 victory over a really good Abbotsford Heat team, Cam Barker was released from his player tryout contract or PTO as it’s known to us AHL blokes. This makes him a free agent. It’s a curious situation for Barker and the Stars for a couple of reasons. First, he ran through nearly an entire PTO (23 of 25 games) and could have been signed to another one. The consecutive 25 game contract would have been the most logical thing to do both for the team, and for the player. Frankly, I’m surprised that this didn’t happen. Barker, a regular on the power play unit for Texas, wasn’t having a terrible season. As a matter of fact, he was a shot monster. 3 goals, 5 assists, 66 shots, -5. Not dazzling stats, but then again, the Stars have struggled early this season.

Friend of this blog, One Hundred Degree Hockey, had this to say on the matter:

The former first round pick Barker had 23 games of work for the Stars, scoring three goals and five helpers and earning a minus-5 rating. He got a lot of work on the powerplay and shot the puck a lot for Texas. He is second in shots on the team at 66, just three behind leading goal scorer Matt Fraser.

With the NHL lockout facing an impending do-or-die moment, Barker may have felt that he should make himself ready to start up an NHL contract. However, it seems odd that he would not consider playing in the AHL to be an excellent conditioning stint and something that would show he is ready to play at the highest level in the world.

I tend the agree with the statement above. Playing in the AHL is better than not playing at all. It would also be curious for Barker to playfully assume that there will be an NHL season soon or that he’d actually get an NHL contract. I also tend to lean towards the fact that this was Cam’s decision rather than the Stars. Mainly because they need warm bodies on defense (upon release of Barker, Hubert Labrie was recalled from ECHL Idaho). Either way, where does the former Oiler go from here? Some have mentioned perhaps he heads to Europe. That’s totally possible. It’s also totally possible that we don’t see Cam Barker pop up for a while. Thus adding to the curious nature of it all.

Published by Neal Livingston

Born in the great state of Ohio, now nestled in the middle America we call Oklahoma, Neal is the head writer & chief farmhand at Tend The Farm. I kinda miss farming the Oilers.....

2 comments on “The Curious Case Of Cam Barker”

  1. Is it a sign that I’m getting old when I was thinking to my self, when I saw the title; “aha! He’s referring to The curious case of the dog in the night time” only yo realize a couple of seconds later “hmm.. or did he mean Benjamin Buttons?” (as I suppose most people of a younger generation would).
    Oh well, this case ain’t too curious. While the Stars have issues with their D, Barker just isn’t the man. Quite frankly he shouldn’t be anyone’s man and that’s what shows when they didn’t extend his stay. Bur sure, I’ll give you this: how on earth did he end up as a top prospect once upon a time?

    1. @dohfOs I was going to make a play for a cute joke about Cam Barker starting bad, but ending amazing (ala Benjamin Button). But I thought better of it. And you can’t be that old, right? In the case of Barker, it’s a matter of who will be better taking his spot. And there might be some truth in thinking that Labrie (from ECHL) might put up better numbers as a defending defenseman with Texas. I still have no idea how he was ever a top prospect. Just boggling on many levels.

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