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Phoenix Coyotes Preseason Countdown: 10 Days

Making 10 appearances in the abbreviated 2013 season, our countdown continues by taking a look at former back-up netminder, Jason LaBarbera.


Jason LaBarbera was initially drafted by the New York Rangers in the 1998 Entry Draft 66th overall, although he didn't end up spending much time with the Rangers. After spending 2 years in the WHL playing with the Portland Winter Hawks and the Spokane Chiefs, he played one game with the Blueshirts, a 10 save shutout performance in relief.

Barbs signed with the Los Angeles Kings in 2005 and during his first full season with an NHL club he went undefeated in his first 7 starts, including his first career shutout. While he would eventually spend time with the Kings' AHL affiliate, LaBarbera would earn a permanent NHL roster spot in the 2007-08 season. Towards the end of the 2008-09 season the Kings ended up trading LaBarbera to the Canucks for a 7th round pick.

Four seasons ago Barbs signed a 2 year deal with the Coyotes to be the goaltender behind Ilya Bryzgalov. After Bryzgalov left, he re-signed with the Desert Dogs for another two years, the same term as new arrival Mike Smith. Initially, Coach Tippett stated that it was an open competition, since Smith had yet to establish himself as a starting goaltender. Ultimately Smitty ended up earning the starting goaltender spot and Barbs remained his back-up for his 2 year contract.

LaBarbera ended up leaving a rather interesting mark on Coyotes history. Both he and Keith Yandle are big wrestling fans and the two of them helped create the tradition of giving the player of the game a WWE (soon to be uniquely customized) Phoenix Coyotes Championship Belt.

So far Barbs has played in 175 NHL games, has a 59-70-19 record, 6 shutouts and 2.84 goals against average with a .909 save percentage. He has also won the Aldege Bastien Memorial Award twice for Top AHL Goaltender, the Les Cunningham Award for AHL MVP and the Harry Holmes Memorial Award for AHL fewest team goals against twice. He will continue his career with the Edmonton Oilers, likely as the backup to Devan Dubnyk.