Cam Barker hopes for a big year with the Oilers, Matt Carkner on the toughness of this coming season’s Senators lineup, and Alexander Sulzer faces the challenge of cracking a deep Canucks blueline.


WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen reports Winnipeg-born defenseman Cam Barker is looking forward to a big year with his new team, the Edmonton Oilers. Barker struggled last season with the Minnesota Wild, who bought out his contract earlier this summer, which allowed the Oilers to sign him to a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two years ago, Barker had a 40-point season with the Chicago Blackhawks and was touted as one of their future core players, but he struggled the following season, which saw him dealt to the Wild midway through 2009-10. If he does rebound this season, the Oilers will have themselves another skilled puck-moving defenseman, which in turn will only bolster their offensive attack. 


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators tough guy Matt Carkner is pleased with the club’s addition of Zenon Kenopka, saying he’ll help give the club plenty of physical presence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kenopka, Carkner, Chris Neil and Zack Smith will certainly make the Senators a tougher team, provided of course they play smart and refrain from bad penalties. They should give their skill players more room to operate.


VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Gordon McIntyre reports former Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers defenseman Alexander Sulzer is looking forward to the challenge of cracking a deep Canucks defense corps this fall. Sulzer signed with the Canucks this summer as an unrestricted free agent, inking a one-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’ll certainly have his work cut out for him, as the Canucks, despite the loss of Christian Ehrhoff, still has one of the deepest defense corps in the league.