Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/3/14
In Gillis we trust? It didn’t take long to get back into mid-season hockey debating. Not long after the new CBA deal was announced, news broke that the Canucks were interested in giving much-maligned defenceman Cam Barker a tryout at camp. It’s, to say the least, perplexing. Gillis has a long history of these tryouts (Owen Nolan, Manny Legace, Steve Begin etc) as a small loophole to dress the minimum number of NHL vets required for a pre-season game while still resting the core members of the Canucks, but this year’s training camp is going to be very short and might not even feature any exhibition games. Hardly a need to rest the big dogs. Rather, they’ll need every chance they can get to find their legs in a season where every game will truly matter. So why Cam Barker? Well, the loss of Aaron Rome and Sami Salo destroyed a bit of depth in the 7/8 hole but….Cam Barker? Cam Barker, the infamous number three pick behind Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, had one decent year in Chicago before burning out in Minnesota and burning out even worse in Edmonton. but….Cam Barker? He hit rock bottom just last month when a 25-game tryout with the Texas Stars of the AHL ended with him not being offered a permanent roster spot. So, what exactly is Mike Gillis’ plan here? If it’s to get people talking debating on-ice issues and not the messy post-partum feelings of the lockout, mission accomplished. Anything beyond that, I really don’t know. His pedigree is long past its expiration date and its difficult to see why he would be able to turn his career around now after having so many chances previously. He’s just not an NHL-calibre defenceman by any metric. I hardly think Mike Gillis is banking on Barker having a miraculous turnaround and making the Canucks over, say, Keith Ballard or Chris Tanev or even Andrew Alberts so it’s hard to see what exactly the ideal outcome here is aside from a confidence boost to forwards in training camp when abuse him time and time again in drills. It’s nothing lost if it doesn’t work out (spoiler: It probably won’t) and if it does, hey free asset. Mike Gillis bought a lotto ticket and sometimes those things actually pay out. Still, him? CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSPORTSBEAT!
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