Last week the Washington Capitals got involved in the college hockey signing spree by signing Miami of Ohio forward Riley Barber. Barber is the second Miami Redhawk to sign with an NHL team this spring after Austin Czarnak signed with the Boston Bruins.
Barber was drafted by the Capitals in the sixth round of the 2012 NHL draft and he just wrapped up his junior season. Barber’s deal will have a term of three years with the Capitals.
Ranked the 48th prospect in hockey by NHL.com, Barber had a rough season in 2014-2015. He suffered an injury that cost him the majority of the season and he did not get a chance to play in the playoffs.
Before the season it seemed like Barber might play out his four years with Miami, but things changed after the season and he took the opportunity to become a pro. He is currently ranked as the fourth prospect in the Capitals farm system.
Barber was the captain of USA juniors at the IIHF in Sweden, where he scored six points.
“There was an email sent out from the Caps a number of weeks ago about potential guys who could come down,” Bears head coach Troy Mann said to Penn Live. “His [name] was not on it. But all of a sudden today we see the signing.
“I know he got hurt the second-to-last game of the season. It was a lower body injury. I’m assuming, based on the fact his name’s never been brought to my attention, that it’s an injury that’s going to keep him out here for the spring. Since he’s signed, he’s a guy we’ll probably see here in Hershey next year.”
The Capitals have been successful in the prospects department of late, with the Hershey Bears roster restocked with young talent. He won’t join the Bears this season but will be an asset going forward.
The sixth round pick has always had scoring talent but is also conodered a two way forward. His ability to get back on defense could allow him to get to the NHL sooner, since its a rarity for younger players.
Hockey’s Future says about Barber: “Long-term questions exist about his ability to translate his college success to the pro level. At the minimum, while he may score with the consistency he has in the past Barber should be a valuable two-way forward at the NHL level one day.”