I like Krys Barch.
I like his attitude, I like his grit, I like his preparation.
Barch is a really nice fit for a guy who can fight and grind on the fourth line.
Barch last season tied for eighth in the NHL in fighting majors with 19. But while that gave him 95 penalty minutes right there, he finished with only 133 overall in 72 games. What that says is he took care of his business, made his point and didn't get caught up in too many extracurriculars. While Barch isn't going to draw a lot of people into any extra penalties like Sean Avery or Steve Ott, he also doesn't hurt the team with unsportsmanlike conduct penalties or suspensions.
So, all in all, Krys Barch is helping your team when you use him correctly.
But, all that said, if you are playing Krys Barch 72 games in a season, your team has problems.
Barch played 72 games last season. Even more, he played the first 70 before he was a healthy scratch. Then, he missed the final eight games with a knee injury.
And that's, as they say in the business, scaling him way too far up the ladder.
Barch only averaged 6:27 in ice time per game, which wasn't that far off from the 6:30 he averaged the season before. But because of the injuries the Stars suffered, he just played a lot more. And, to be fair to him, the Stars didn't really have much choice. They were battling 300 man-games lost to injury and he was a smart veteran they could put in every night.
Barch's numbers were good for his time on ice with four goals and five assists in 72 games, and he has shown that he is responsible defensively, but he also is a middleweight in fighting. The voters at www.hockeyfights.com
With the roster filled and money tight, the Stars appear ready to go to battle with Barch next season. My guess is he will see closer to the 48 games he played in 2007-08 than 72, but I also wonder if the Stars will consider another tough guy. Warren Peters was added in the off-season on a two-way contract and will probably help fill the role of enforcer in Cedar Park. But he is more of a Steve Ott type player than a heavyweight. In addition, Francis Wathier still is under contract in the minors, so there is that option.
But I do wonder if the Star would like more than that in the arsenal. We'll see. I don't see Marc Crawford as a ``goon coach,'' as some have suggested, but I do see him as a man who would like to have a fighter available. I also think Joe Nieuwendyk sees value in that position.
This will be an interesting season to see if Barch can fill the role to the expectations of both his coach and GM. Youngster Luke Gazdic is in the system, and could be the answer. But, for now, Barch is the man who the Stars will turn to.