With their sixth-round pick (167th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Capitals selected Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native Riley Barber.
Seen as an under-the-radar selection, Barber’s hockey IQ and puck-handling were seen as strengths. The 6’0″, 188-pound right-wing showed promise in his collegiate hockey career.
In three seasons at Miami University of Ohio, Barber played 116 games, scoring 54 goals while adding 69 assists for 123 points. Prior to that, he played two seasons in the United States Hockey League (USHL). His first season was spent with the Dubuque Fighting Saints, with whom he scored 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists) in 57 games played. His second was spent with the United States National Team Development Program, where he recorded just 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 24 games.
Barber decided to forgo his senior year at Miami and signed his entry-level contract with the Capitals on April 17, 2015. He began the season with the Hershey Bears, where he still plays. In 39 games played this far, Barber has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists), putting him on pace for 14 goals, 21 assists, and 35 points in 76 games (the AHL has a 76-game season compared to the NHL’s 82). Barber is a hard-working forward who plays on the Bears’ power play and never gives up on a play. If there is a play to be made, Barber will do anything possible to make it. If Barber can continue to develop and adapt to the pro game, the Caps could have a promising young player in their lineup in a few years.
By Michael Fleetwood