Plenty of upside to Barker

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:28 PM ET

EDMONTON - When a team is so fed up with a player that they pay him to leave, the team that signs him next probably shouldn’t be rubbing its hands together in glee.

But the Edmonton Oilers are cautiously optimistic about Cam Barker’s upside.

The Minnesota Wild bought him out for a reason (five points in 52 games last season), but Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini is more than willing to take a chance on a 25-year-old who once went third overall (2004).

And Barker, with plenty to prove and one year to prove it, is thrilled that they did.

“I had a chance to sit down with my agents and figure out a place that would be a really good fit and Edmonton was our first pick,” said the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder from Winnipeg, so inked a $2.25 million deal. “I’m looking forward to getting back to the type of player I really am and looking to contribute.

“It’s great to be wanted. Edmonton is a great hockey market, so many great young guys, talented players, it couldn’t be a better fit.”

Barker had a great season in 2008-09, putting up 40 points in 68 games with Chcago, but it’s been all downhill since. He had 21 points in 70 games two years ago and five points in 52 games last season in Minnesota.

“I had a couple of injuries and everything that could have gone wrong for me did,” he said. “But I’m looking forward to coming to Edmonton and being that player I was two years ago. Being an offensive D man, being able to take the body, being a puck moving guy, sticking up for my teammates. I’m looking forward to getting back to that.”


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