(Photo credit: Tim Lauzon/Texas Stars)
The Texas Stars recently announced that they released Cam Barker from his professional tryout contract. The 26 year old defenseman had signed a 25 game professional tryout contract prior to the start of the season. His release was met with mixed emotions.
Prior to the start of the season many fans were elated to get an NHL player on the roster, hoping that he would round out a team full of new players and some AHL veterans. As the season went on however, this hope was replaced by disappointment. Barker, who has played 296 career NHL games, recorded 8 points over the season and 24 penalty minutes over a 23 games.
Beyond the stats, the way that Barker played in front of the Cedar Park Center crowd was not telling of a NHL veteran. It almost seemed as though he was waiting for either the NHL lockout to end or for another opportunity elsewhere. Bottom line, it appeared as though he had no interest in playing in the AHL. Instead of making the most of his opportunity to get picked up like Taylor Vause, he floundered it.
It is unknown where Barker takes his hockey journey next, but with his departure the Texas Stars have called up Hubert Labrie from the Idaho Steelheads. I imagine he will spend some time in the stands as a healthy scratch but has certainly proved that he deserves his shot in the AHL. He has recorded 5 points over 22 games for the Steelheads with an impressive +10 rating.