One player wearing number 13 in this picture is really good at hockey.
It's almost July 1st. You're a NHL general manager looking for some depth on your blue line for what is sure to be your run to the Stanley Cup. You look at the list of players available: Ryan Suter, some other guys with skates, a dog that people in Alberta say is the next Filip Kuba, there's the guy that used to play in the NHL... You keep scanning down your page, and that's when you see it.
This is your big chance. You can land a former third overall pick for no cost to your prospect pool. He's got to be hungry after being traded away from the Hawks, bought out by the Wild, and now given the cold shoulder by Edmonton. You'll be a hero. Fans in your city will carry you on their shoulders and erect statues in your honor.
You fill out a standard player contract and prepare to fax it to Barker's agent.
The alarm clock sounds. You are soaked in sweat. Your heart is racing. Dear lord, what did you almost do? It was only a dream, you tell yourself. You would never, in your life, be so stupid as to fall for the Cam Barker song and dance. The dream was so... so real.
With news coming from the Edmonton Journal that Barker was not qualified by the Oilers, we begin the dance we have seen done before. Hawks fans fell for it. Wild fans fell for it. And even though we tried to warn them, Oilers fans fell for it, too. Barker's Corsi must be freaking huge.
Please, NHL fans, let's not do this again. Cam Barker is a terrible defenseman. Once upon a time, he scored 40 points in a season. You know what? Once upon a time, Price Charming saved the princess and they both lived happily ever after, too. Neither of these scenarios is ever going to happen again.
Since that 2008-09 season in which Barker scored those magical 40 points, he has 28 points. Three seasons, a grand total of 147 games out of a possible 246. He's missed nearly 100 games in that span, has done absolutely squat for the teams paying his ridiculous salaries, and likely laughed all the way to the bank. You know, if he had any emotional capacity.
You want a one way ticket to hockey hell? Pray your favorite team's GM buys into the third overall pick BS that Barker's agent has used to keep his client employed for the past three years. It's time for this crap to die. No, not Barker, just his time in the NHL.
Much better players have gone to Europe because there wasn't anywhere for them to play in the NHL. There has to be some job openings in the KHL. Or the DEL. Or Swiss A league. Or whatever the pro league is called in Luxembourg. Just pray the no one offers this kid another chance in the NHL. Looking at you, Scott Howson.
Oh, and we just received word. The dog that the people in Alerta think is the next Filip Kuba? Turns out it is actually Filip Kuba. Be careful what you wish for, hockey fans.
Stick tap to James O'Brien over at Pro Hockey Talk.