I love it when a plan comes together. This summer we were a little surprised that Mark Barberio was signed to a contract, with our glut of young players on the blue line. After looking at it a little more, I concluded that he was brought in as organizational depth, to maybe compete as a longshot for a spot on the Montréal blue line, but more likely to bring a veteran presence to the AHL team, along with a left shot, with our prospects all being righties save for Mac Bennett.
Sure enough, he played well at camp but couldn’t unseat the incumbents or the other waiver-eligible youngsters, so he was sent down, and actually made it through waivers, contrary to Frank Corrado for example, who was plucked from the Canucks by the Leafs when he was sent down.
A few years ago, Pierre Gauthier had looked at his blue line and figured he might need some depth, some size and experience, so he’d brought in free agent Jeff Woywitka, who had an okay camp but could have been expected to contribute during the season. Except they tried to send him down to the AHL and he was claimed by the Rangers. As if those jerks hadn’t robbed us of enough blue line talent already…
I’m not saying it’s a direct result, but that’s the year we eventually traded for Tomas Kaberle.
In this instance though, the pieces fell into place. The organization retained an asset. The IceCaps get a solid blueliner who is used by Sylvain Lefebvre on his first pairing and in all situations, a player who knows the AHL well and can act as a steadying influence on the young bucks. He’s piling up points, producing, a big part of the team’s strong start.