Riley Barber (Pittsburgh, PA) has been playing impressive hockey at the Washington Capitals Summer Development Camp. Barber, 18, was the Washington Capitals' 6th round pick, 167th overall, at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft held in June in his hometown. The 6', 190 lb right winger spent last season with the US National Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan, posting 20 goals, 35 points, and 85 penalty minutes in 56 games. He also won the USHL championship, the Clark Cup, in 2011 with the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Barber's father Don played 115 NHL games between 1988 and 1992. Don Barber also played college hockey for Bowling Green just 3 years after Capitals General Manager George McPhee did, and Riley has also chosen to play his college hockey in Ohio for the Miami Redhawks next season.
Barber's past coaches rave about him. Danton Cole says “he’s got a pro shot, another kid with a real high compete level and hates to lose, his battle level is real good. He does a lot of things, he’s kind of a pro winger, he gets pucks out, he understands the subtleties of the game, he’s got a good physical aspect to his game. As I said, he’s got an NHL shot, he’s a goal scorer.”
Here is his interview from the Washington Capitals Summer Development Camp:
How did playing youth hockey in Pittsburgh shape you?
When I started playing, my dad always coached me. We had a great group of guys, J.T. Miller, Vince Trochek, all those guys turned out to be great players, turned out to have good careers already. We had a great team. When it was time for me to move on because they wanted me to play down on the ‘94s and not play on the ‘93s, it was time for me to move up to Detroit and take on tougher competition as my own age group.
Do you consider yourself more of a Pittsburgh or Detroit guy?
More of a Pittsburgh guy, for sure, because that’s where I grew up. I have a lot more friends in Michigan, but Pittsburgh I just have a strong passion for because that’s where I was born.
How was it to see your former Pittsburgh Hornets teammates J.T. Miller and Vincent Trocheck get drafted last year? Did it inspire you?
Oh yeah, for sure. I texted both of them and said congrats and they did the same for me this year. It’s funny, how each path a player goes, your buddies. It’s kinda cool to see it unfold, see where everybody goes.
What was behind your decision to go to the National Team after winning a championship in your first season with Dubuque?
It was a family thing. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in the Clark Cup playoffs. It was only a family thing, being closer to home, and it kinda worked out. That was the only reason.
How has your junior career prepared you for your upcoming college career at Miami?
I think it has prepared me tremendously. I stated off in Dubuque with Jim Montgomery and he really taught me a lot of the basics of being a pro, practicing hard. I think it transformed me playing against bigger guys, stronger guys, older guys. I think it has prepared me very well.
Matt Gajtka contributed to this report. Follow Andy Green on Twitter here.