Player evaluation: LaBarbera



This season: 45 games, 17-23 record, 3.00 goals-against average, .910 save percentage.

Positives: Actually made it to the NHL this season and did a strong job during points of the season. His size (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) remains his clear strong point and his positioning is usually solid. When he’s able to stay healthy and get in a rhythm, LaBarbera is able to build some confidence and is capable of long stretches of good play.

Negatives: LaBarbera has still yet to show that he can make it through an entire NHL season without significant injury or without being replaced because of substandard play. He tends to be a little streaky — but most goalies are — and while his size is a positive, it also limits his mobility.

Looking ahead: Once again, LaBarbera will enter training camp battling for a job. It’s been the same way every season since 2005. LaBarbera would have to be considered the favorite to earn the No. 1 job, although certainly not an overwhelming favorite. He will have to hold off Erik Ersberg and Jonathan Bernier, and possibly others, in order to win the job outright.

Contract situation: Signed through 2008-09 (cap number of $825,000 next season).

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  • anthony

    He was never the same since that stabbing incident with Ryan Smyth.

    The biggest area of concern is his inabilty to control rebounds. He just gives up way too many of those.

    With the surplus of goalies in the system, I wouldn’t be surprised if he were traded. He still has alot of value.

  • dave fouser

    don’t forget his achilles heel: rebound control.

  • John Roy Morgan

    LABARBERA’s time has come. He has shown he is great in the AHL, not the NHL. Time for him and the Kings to figure that out.

  • Irish Pat

    Amen to that Dave.

    I think that’s the major reason it’s so easy to get over-excited when watching Ersberg. It’s like night and day between these two when it comes to rebounds.

  • Galen

    Have to agree with Anthony on this one.

  • DellaNooch

    I kinda like Anthony’s idea here, look at him as trade bait if Ersberg and Bernier have solid camps.

  • Do you really think that Labarbera would be the “favorite to earn the number 1 job” in any other NHL organization? In some organizations he probably isn’t even a number 3. I really am sick of this charade.

  • His save percentage is overly inflated due to the amount of rebounds he gives up. How many shots were teams throwing at us when LaBarbera was in net?

    I think he’s a capable backup goaltender…that’s about it.

  • JDM

    He’s a flopping fish, and streaky all to well defines him. He doesn’t the look in his eyes of a solid nhler. He’s a deer in headlights, and this goes hand in hand with what is truly his biggest problem, confidence. All goaltenders have problems here, but he doesn’t look like he has that determination and ego to withstand the nhl. He crumbles after one soft goal… all goalies give up soft goals but its how they respond that matters, and he almost always responds by giving up more soft goals. A good backup, that’s it.

  • Anonymous

    what was the personal matter that pulled him from games ? what stabbing incident ? thanks I always wanted to know about that.

  • AnThGrt

    Replying to KingsCast Hockey Podcast.

    LaBarbera: 45GP 1341SA = 29.8 SA/G
    Ersberg: 14GP 452SA = 32.3 SA/G
    Cloutier: 9GP 247SA = 27 SA/G

    LaBarbera definately throws out a lot of rebounds but thats not the reason for the sv%. As illustrated above he actually had less SA/G then Ersberg and I put Cloutier in there incase you were going to make an argument with Stuart being gone.

    I still think LaBarbera could be a good goalie, not sure if it will be with us though. Personally I think he is and was better then Huet/Garon and you have seen how they have done on other teams.

  • Starlight

    You forgot the rebounds, Rich… but yes, he certainly has his moments, and can be a good backup.

    I’m waiting to see what training camp tells us, hopefully Ersberg and Bernier will both challenge for the NHL spots and in the meantime Quick, Taylor and Zatkoff will keep developing. I’d be happy to see LaBarbera on the ice next year too, if he makes an effort to improve things like the rebounds. But not necessarily in the #1 position.

    Time will tell, and if he is the best option coming out of training camp then so be it. I want to see more of Ersberg and Bernier though, I hope they are both ready for the NHL now.

  • Anonymous

    He was decent for a fill until we actually get someone ready to step in and be our #1…even though he will only be a reliable backup on his best days… I do believe it will be some type of combination of Ersberg/JLB/Bernier this season…

  • joe

    are you joking ?

    Labarbera/ everyone couldn’t even hold Bernier off last year, you think he or anyone else stands a chance this coming one ?

    Sorry guys, maybe labarbera Backs up Ersberg for the first month of the season or at most two. But after that it’s gonna be Bernier/Ersberg unless Labarbera seriously improves over the summer.

  • Paul

    It wouldn’t surprise me if they bought out Cloutier and traded LaBarbara, if anyone wants him. I’ve said all season, he’s an AHL goalie. That’s all he’ll ever be.

    Speaking of goalies, watch out for Jeff Zatkoff. This guy is a beast. He may be the Kings 2nd best goalie prospect. You should start hearing his name a lot more now.

  • Anonymous

    His biggest negative as a goalie is his ability to concentrate on the puck. And his conditioning is suspect. He has all the tools to be a top notch NHL goalie. But for some reason he holds himself back. He needs to figure out what that some thing is and to do it soon. Because next season he is looking for a stiff competition for his job.

  • diehrdkingsfan38

    Ducks SUCK HAHA

  • mrk

    Finally I won’t have to hear those crazy ducks announcers. Good luck Matti.

  • KingFan4ever

    The stars bbq’d the lame ducks…..SWEET!!

    Bergoonzzi still doesn’t have cup and like mrk said, I don’t have to hear Brian Heyward’s whiny voice!

  • Jon G

    Thank you Matty! Now I can watch the rest of the playoffs without that sense of dread that’s been evident for the past two seasons. I really thought the Ducks had a good chance of winning it again this year.

  • If anybody was listening after the game, Hayward actually blamed the Kings. He said, and I quote “the Ducks picked up bad habits the last weekend of the season against Phoenix and LA and that carried over to the first two games of the series”. I was laughing hysterically at that one. He is the worst color man in the history of the planet!!!!!!

  • Old Man:

    Thank you Dallas! Good luck Matti! And Good Bye Hazziiiiiiiie!

  • Harry

    Ducks SUCK!!

    Salami = sucks too

  • Buck

    It was especially sweet to see ‘Pee Wee’ Pronger get that penalty in the final moments, thus banishing any thoughts of a come back!

    Those hacks starting making excuses right after the game. “I’ll be curious to see how many and what kind of injuries the Ducks were playing with..” I.e. It’s the refs fault, we’re injured, the Kings made us loose, etc…

    The beauty is that the schmucks, all in all, didn’t do that much better than the Kings in terms of when the golfing vacations start!

    Plus, this siting out more than half the season is bogus and I’m glad it didn’t work for certain players.

  • ian

    Brian “homeboy” Hayward is hell to listen to, so glad those orange things have been cooked for the season…)

  • KingFan4ever

    I think Scott Niedermeyer and Teemu are hall of famers but that was kind of cheap what they did by leaving their team in limbo at the beginning of the season.

    It’s cherry picking at it’s worst really and like buck said, it would not have been cool for them to win a cup for putting in half the work.

    That whiny Heyward can complain all he wants but the the fact is Dallas out freakin’ played them. The lame ducks really thought they could just show up and the Stars would lay down.

    Have a nice off season lame-ducks!!

  • SuperSonic420

    I agree, I am also happy it did not work out for Nieds or Teemu. I didnt want to see this become a trend in the leauge with players who have nothing to lose sit out for half the season, just to come back and have a shot at the cup.

    Can’t really blame Teemu as much because he was a UFA and the Ducks didnt have to sign him if they didnt want to. Niedermayer however was under contract and he really screwed with the Ducks future by doing this, the icing on the cake is if he decides to retire this season. That will really put those quacks in a tailspin hopefully they cant recover from for a long time! Not that im vindictive in anyway or anything.

  • quackattack

    Ducks won 2 more games in
    playoffs than Monarchs.
    Bernier already learning to
    lose games just like your
    other chokers.
    Ducks will be back in the
    playoffs next year while
    you will making draft plans
    as usual.
    Ducks did in 14 years what
    you have not done in over
    Your team is so lame they
    even screwed up #1 draft

  • Per Wikipedia:
    The popularity of Gretzky and the Kings also led to the NHL awarding an expansion team to Anaheim, California; in 1993 the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (who became the Anaheim Ducks on June 22, 2006) would become the Kings nearest rival, just 35 miles to the south. Gretzky’s popularity in Southern California also led to the NHL expanding or moving into other Sun Belt cities such as Phoenix, Dallas, Tampa, Miami, and Nashville.

    Moral of the story is that there wouldn’t even be a Ducks, along with teams in other non traditional hockey cities, if it wasn’t for the Kings, so say whatever you want but the true hockey fans in Southern California are the long term fans of the Los Angeles Kings.

  • Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.