27-Year-Old Defenseman – Colorado Avalanche
Mark Barberio Contract Information:
Signed a two-year contract with Montreal in June 2016.
Barberio blocked three shots through 18:05 of ice time during Thursday's 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
The bloom is off the rose for Barberio, who struggled late last season to even earn playing time. He still profiles as a power-play specialist who is otherwise insulated in a team system as a sixth or seventh defender. The arrival of Jason Garrison this offseason means any possible power-play time has probably disappeared for Barberio. Avoid him as long as he's in Tampa -- his lack of ice time will be of little use for your fantasy team.
A bit of the shine has come off this former Eddie Shore Award winner (AHL's best defender). His game hasn't taken a nose dive by any means. But it hasn't grown a lot, either. He is the epitome of a true power-play quarterback -- average shot, but able to find lanes while playing a man up, all while being defensively suspect. The latter isn't a big deal in fantasy and given the Bolt's desperate need for offense on the back end, Barberio's time is soon. He might not break with the team this season, but he'll get called up a couple times. Monitor the wire for those moments -- the points will come given the potency of the Bolts' attack.
Barberio is a power-play specialist who dropped to the sixth round in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft because of questions about his own-zone play. Not anymore. Barberio earned the Eddie Shore Award last season as the best defender in the AHL and he has a shot at a spot on the Bolts' blue line this year. Tampa hasn't had a true power-play specialist in years (Marc-Andre Bergeron just doesn't count) and Barberio could elbow his way onto the man advantage if Victor Hedman doesn't mesh with Matt Carle. Remember his name -- he's a sleeper pick. And keeper leaguers should seriously take note. The Bolts aren't flush with offensive-minded blueliners who can play now.
Barberio's stock is on the rise. This slick-skating offensive-minded defender is a perfect fit for the up-tempo kind of game deployed in the Tampa system. He didn't struggle at all last year in his first pro season, finishing a respectable second in blue-line scoring for the Norfolk Admirals with nine goals and 22 helpers. His vision and creativity with the puck on his stick make him an ideal power-play QB but he's not just a one-trick pony -- he proved he can log heavy minutes without making own-zone gaffes. The Bolts need his kind of skill on their back end. It won't happen in 2011-12 but another year of development in the A and he could be barking for a job in 2012-13.
Barberio isn't the best skater. Nor is he huge. But he's a stocky and smart puckmover who could mature into a 40-point guy some day. Expect several years of development in the AHL before he becomes a bottom-three defender in the bigs.